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THE career of John Sargent, perhaps the greatest painter 
of his time, and surely one of the greatest portrayers 
and interpreters of it in his famous portraits of its most 
eminent and most representative figures, is here chronicled in 
successive stages. 

The figure of the hero stands out in high relief from the nar- 
rative which his personality pervades. A wealth of anecdote and 
of letters enriches the record of work, travel, and triumph, from 
student days under Carolus-Duran to the time when the presi- 
dency of the Royal Academy could have been his ; and in all 
this opulent detail the character of the man overshadows even 
the distinction of the artist as the true theme of the book. 










? (/ ?-<a. 




Copyright, 1927, by 

Printed in the United States of America 






IN the two years which have elapsed since the death of 
Sargent, his reputation has passed through and survived 
a critical period. It has endured the searching test of the 
Memorial Exhibition at Burlington House, when many of his 
least successful works were submitted to scrutiny. It has with- 
stood in popular esteem the reaction which there was every 
reason to expect would follow the sensational sale of his drawings 
and studies at Christies. His popularity has, in fact, suffered 
no perceptible diminution to the present day. From this it 
might be augured that his fame, great as it is, will be maintained 
in the future. It is not the purpose of the present volume to 
affirm or question such an assumption. Time, assisted by those 
qualified for the task, can alone determine the place which he is 
entitled to occupy in the history of art. The present record of 
his life and work will, however, it is hoped, help to explain why 
he painted as he did, and show the influences to which his art 
was subject. 

In the course of the text will be seen the names of the many 
people who have kindly supplied letters and information, and to 
whom my grateful thanks are due. Miss Sargent authorised 
me to make use of the documents found in Tite Street after her 
brother's death. 

Mr. J. B. Manson, with the help of the list of paintings 
prepared by Mr. Thomas Fox in America, has compiled the 
catalogue of Sargent's works in oil, and this, it is believed, is 
now approximately complete. 



I am also indebted to the National Gallery, Millbank, to 
Mr. Carter, Director of the Fenway Court Museum, Boston, 
to the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and to the Boston Art 
Museum, for leave to reproduce pictures in those galleries; and 
to Mr. Charles Carstairs of Messrs. Knoedler and Mr. Croal 
Thomson of Barbizon House for giving me access to the collec- 
tions in their possession of photographs of Sargent pictures. 

Mr. Charles Whibley has been good enough to read through 
the proofs. 




CHAPTER I ....... I 

CHAPTER II . ......tO 

CHAPTER III ------- 17 

CHAPTER IV __-__-- 30 

CHAPTER V -------36 

CHAPTER VI ------- 41 

CHAPTER VII ------- 47 

CHAPTER VIII - - - - - - -53 

CHAPTER IX -------59 

CHAPTER X __-_-__ 66 

CHAPTER XI ------- 72 

CHAPTER XII - - - - - - -8l 

CHAPTER XIII - - - - - - -86 

CHAPTER XIV - - - - - - -94 

CHAPTER XV ------- 103 

CHAPTER XVI - - - - - - -II4 

CHAPTER XVII - - - - - - -122 

CHAPTER XVIII ------- 136 

CHAPTER XIX ------- 145 

CHAPTER XX - - - - - - - 153 

CHAPTER XXI - - . - - - - 163 

CHAPTER XXII - - - - - - -174 

CHAPTER XXIII - - - - - - - l8l 

chapter xxiv ------- 191 

chapter xxv _---___ 202 

chapter xxvi ------- 2io 

chapter xxvii ------- 220 

j. s. s.i in memoriam ------ 235 

sargent's pictures in oils - 257 

INDEX -------- 297 

List of Illustrations 

john s. sargent (circ^ 1 878) - Frontispiece 



WATER-COLOUR SKETCH (1869) - - - - 12 

CAROLUS DURAN - - - - - - -22 


ART) -------- 26 


(boston art museum) - - - - - 32 

wineglasses - - - - - - -38 

AN ATLANTIC STORM - - - - - 42 


HEAD OF ANA CAPRI GIRL - - - - - 48 

SPANISH WOMAN - - - - - - - $6 

A GAME OF CHESS - - - - - 58 



STUDY OF SWANS - - - - - - 68 


JOHN S. SARGENT, JETAT. 30 - - - - 78 


WHITBY --------84 


STUDY OF CROCODILES - - - - - "94 

THE MORNING WALK - - - - - 98 







STUDY OF OXEN" - - - - - - -1 10 

AT THE FORGE - - - - - -Il6 

LADY d'aBERNON - - - - - - -1 24 




W. GRAHAM ROBERTSON - - - - - - J 54 



THE MISSES WERTHEIMER - - - - - -1 66 


LADY SASSOON - - - - - - - I74 


ANTHONY ASQUITH - - - - - - -l8o 

EARL OF WEMYSS - - - - - - I94 

"politics" _______ 210 

ARRAS -------- 212 


SCENE IN VENICE ------- 220 

VERNON LEE _--.___ 236 

STUDY -------- 238 


TOWER AT TURIN ------- 248 


Chapter I 

JOHN SINGER SARGENT was born at the Casa Arretini 
in Florence, on January 12, 1856. The house stands on 
the Lung* Arno, within a stone's-throw of the Ponte 
Vecchio. Facing its windows, and on the other side of the river, 
there rises out of the waters of the Arno a row of houses whose 
walls here and there, tinted by age to the colour of amber, carry 
the tones of the river up to the russet roofs with which they are 
crowned. Above these, again, can be seen Bellosguardo, Monte 
Alle Croce, and away to the east the outpost foothills of the 

The father of John Sargent was Fitz William Sargent, who was 
born at Gloucester, Massachusetts, January 17, 1820. Fitz- 
William Sargent graduated in medicine at the University of 
Pennsylvania in 1843. From 1844 to 1854 he was surgeon of 
Wills Hospital, Philadelphia. Eminent in his profession, he 
published works on minor surgery, in their day textbooks in the 
medical schools of America, which he illustrated himself. He 
was, above all things, American. In his frequent writings on 
political topics, patriotism was the guiding influence; nor was this 
affected by his migration to Europe. On June 27, 1850, he 
married Mary Newbold, the only child of John Singer, of Phila- 
delphia, and Mary, daughter of William and Mary Newbold, 
also of Philadelphia. Lineage and early indications of promise 
acquire significance when they culminate in a master talent. 

The genealogy of John Sargent calls for more than a passing 

On the paternal side John Sargent's descent can be traced 
back to William Sargent, who was born in England, and appears 
in the town records of Gloucester, U. S., as the grantee of two 
acres of land in 1678. Nothing is known of his career. It can 



only be presumed that he was a manner, as in 1693 he was taxed 
as owner of a sloop. It is known, however, that he married in 
Gloucester, on June 21, 1678, Mary, daughter of Peter Duncan 
and Mary Epes of Gloucester. The English ancestry of Mary 
Duncan has been traced with certainty. Her family originally 
came from Devonshire. There is a Peter Duncan who was 
instituted to the rectory of Lidford, Devon, in 1580. His son, 
Nathaniel Duncan, married in 161 6 at the Parish Church of St. 
Mary Arches, Exeter, Elizabeth, daughter of Ignatius Jourdain. 
In 1630 Nathaniel Duncan, his wife and two sons, sailed for 
America. It is therefore to a Puritan stock that John Sargent 
traces his origin, to a family which, when the call came "for the 
church to fly to the wilderness, ,, joined those devout and ardent 
spirits, who, with John Winthrop at their head, migrated to the 
colony of Massachusetts in order to practise with greater free- 
dom the austerities of their religion. 

The descendants of William Sargent and Mary Duncan, 
through their third son, Epes Sargent (born 1690), have shown 
themselves honourable and efficient citizens of the United 
States, never reaching to any outstanding eminence, but main- 
taining a certain ordered and reputable level of intellectual 
activity, and following their professions with success. They 
have figured in law and commerce, in medicine and literature, 
as artists, as soldiers in the War of Independence, and as cap- 
tains in the Merchant Service. Included among these descen- 
dants of Epes Sargent, in addition to John Singer Sargent, the 
subject of this memoir, may be mentioned that prolific writer, 
Epes Sargent (1813-80), remembered as the author of "Life on 
the Ocean Wave," and Charles Sprague Sargent, born 1841, the 
distinguished authority on forestry and horticulture, who was 
drawn by John Sargent in 191 9. All these descendants of Epes 
Sargent show a fine regard for obligations in private life and 
public service, and for duty as part of the very order and nature 
of existence. Strands of this Puritan thread, varying with 
environment and occasion, and adapted to new strains, enter 
into the web and woof of the family history. 

On the side of his mother, Mary Newbold, his ancestry 


can be traced to Caspar Singer, of the Moravian belief, who 
migrated from Alsace-Lorraine to America in 1730. The de- 
scendant in the sixth generation of this Caspar Singer, namely 
John Singer, the grandfather of the artist, married Mary New- 
bold, daughter of a family which had moved from Yorkshire to 
America in 1680. John Singer himself was a well-to-do merchant, 
successor to a prosperous business which he had inherited from 
his father. Thus the ancestry of John Sargent has been domi- 
ciled in America on the paternal side since 1630, and on his 
mother's side since 1730 — the one originating in Devonshire, 
the other in Yorkshire. The mother of John Sargent was a 
woman of culture and an excellent musician. She also painted 
in water-colour. She was vivacious and restless in disposition, 
quickly acquiring ascendancy in any circle in which she was 
placed. In her family she was a dominating influence. She was 
one of the first to recognize the genius of her son, and in a large 
measure responsible for his dedication to art. As a girl she had 
travelled in Italy. The magic of that country never ceased to 
exercise its spell, and within four years of her marriage she 
persuaded her husband to give up his practice, and in 1854 to 
sail for Europe and take up their residence in Florence. Fitz- 
William Sargent had, by his practice in Philadelphia, made 
himself of independent means. His wife, Mary Newbold, was 
sufficiently well off to render the pursuit of his profession on 
financial grounds unnecessary. 

Europe, in the words of Henry James,* had by this time been 
"made easy for" Americans. Just as in the seventeenth century 
the drift of movement had been from East to West, so now, 
two hundred years later, the tide had turned; and the drift, under 
conditions and directed by motives in no way comparable, it is 
true, had set from America to Europe. The new world, ani- 
mated by the impulse to track culture to its sources and discover 
for itself the origins of artistic inspiration, had begun that steady 
pilgrimage which, not always with the same object in view, has 
continued to the present day. But by the middle of the nine- 
teenth century "the precursors" had accomplished their work — 

* Henry James: "William Wetmore Story." 


not the work of settlers and backwoodsmen, as in the case of their 
forbears — but the sorting and registering of the first contacts 
and preliminary adjustments between a new civilization and an 
old. The traditions, the institutions and customs of Europe 
had been reported upon by numberless explorers, and its highly 
specialized complications had been tested and, if not mastered, 
at least successfully confronted. Migration to Europe was an 
established practice. Rome and Florence already bore abundant 
witness to the process of American infiltration. It was, there- 
fore, as an already recognized type of pilgrim that the Sargent 
family arrived in the old world; though it was long before they 
were to find a last and settled home in Europe. The Continent, 
with its provocations to restlessness and its various appeals, 
tempted them for many years to constant movement: Florence, 
Rome, Nice, Switzerland, the watering-places of Germany, 
Spain, Paris, Pau, London and again Italy, were in turn visited 
by the family in their wanderings. 

It would be of interest if we could estimate the effect of 
these nomadic habits on the fancy of a child and trace the results 
in his maturity. It would be an error to deny them some in- 
fluence. Europe, passing as it were on a film, must have dwarfed 
the sentiment of early associations, and tended to slacken the 
hold of locality and even tradition. At any rate, it is possible 
to find in Sargent's art qualities certainly congruous with such 
an exceptionally restless childhood. 

A letter written in 1863 or 1864 by Fitz William Sargent to 
his parents throws light on the upbringing of John Sargent, 
and the influence of Channing, Emerson, and ten years of 
wandering in Europe on a New Englander's view of the Scot- 
tish Cathechism. 

The boy (John) is very well; I can't say he is very fond of reading. 
Although he reads pretty well, he is more fond of play than of books. 
And herein, I must say, I think he shows good sense. I have just sent 
him after a book to read for a half-hour, to keep him in trim, so to speak, 
and after a while I shall trot him out for a walk on the hills. I think 
his muscles and bones are of more consequence to him, at his age, than 
his brains; I dare say the latter will take care of themselves. I keep 


him well supplied with interesting books of natural history, of which 
he is very fond, containing well-drawn pictures of birds and animals, 
with a sufficient amount of text to interest him in their habits, etc. 
He is quite a close observer of animated nature, so much so that, by 
carefully comparing what he sees with what he reads in his books, he 
is enabled to distinguish the birds whichheseesaboutwherehehappens 
to be. Thus, you see, I am enabled to cultivate his memory and his 
observing and discriminating faculties without his being bothered with 
the disagreeable notion that he is actually studying, which idea, to a 
child, must be a great nuisance. We keep them all (the children) 
supplied with nice little books of Bible stories, so that they are pretty 
well posted-up in their theology. I have not taught them the Cate- 
chism, as someone told me I should. I can't imagine anything more 
dull and doleful to a little child, than to be regularly taught the 
Cathechism. You may teach them who made them; you may give 
them a correct idea, so far as you can understand it yourself, and make 
them comprehend it, of God and of our Saviour, and of the sacrifice of 
Christ for sin and sinners; you may teach them the natureandmeaning 
of Sin, and of our need of a Saviour; of Death and of Everlasting Life, 
etc. But I am sure it would bore me dreadfully to be obliged to learn 
the Cathechism, although I hope I know all that itcontainspretty well. 
I remember that Mr. Boardman once asked me, at a Sunday school 
examination, "What is the chief end of man?" and I told him 
Death, at which he professed to feel some surprise, and I know my 
teacher, good Mr. Mclntyre, (the little man who afterwards seceded), 
supposed I had made an extraordinary mistake. But the fault was 
not mine, but the stupid wording of the question; if I had been asked, 
what was the object of God in creating man, I had sense enough to 
have been able to give a correct reply. And so Emily and Johnny I 
believe, can give the substance of everything in the Cathechism im- 
portant for them to know, as yet, or which they can, as yet, to any good 
degree comprehend, without inspiring them with a dislike to books in 
general by making them "go through" the Cathechism. I confess 
(and I hope you will not be hurt) that I am not able myself to give the 
exact replies to the questions of the Cathechism. To me it is the 
dreariest of all books. 

In 1862 the family was at Nice at the Maison Virello, Rue 
Grimaldi. In a neighbouring house with an adjoining garden 
was living Rafael del Castillo, of Spanish descent, whose family 
had settled in Cuba and subsequently become naturalized 
Americans. Rafael's son Benjamin was of an age with John 


Sargent, and from this date the two became close friends. He 
also made friends in these early days with the sons of Admiral 
Case, of the American Navy, and with Mr. and Mrs. Paget, and 
their daughter Violet (Vernon Lee). With these and others 
John Sargent and his sister Emily (born at Rome in 1857) were 
constant associates. 

Patriotic motives decided FitzWilliam Sargent to send his 
son into the Navy. The arrival of United States ships of war 
at Nice gave a chance of testing the boy's taste for the sea. 
But it was found that he was much more interested in drawing 
the ships than in acquiring knowledge about them. 

The fire within him, burning to record and express, was 
already at work. Every day was quickening his powers of ob- 
servation and his precocious aptitude. In a letter written in 
1865 to his friend, Ben del Castillo, while the family were vainly 
seeking a climate that might restore the health of a sister, Mary 
Winthrop (born at Nice, i860), he shows the alertness of his 
visual faculty. 

Dear Ben, April i6, 1865. 

We got to Pau on Wednesday. We stayed at Toulouse a day, 
and Mamma took Emily and me to the Museum, and we saw the horn 
of Roland, and the pole and wheels of a Roman chariot, and many 
pictures and statues. The next day we got to Bordeaux in the after- 
noon, where Mamma took Emily and me to the Cathedral, where 
King Richard the 2nd of England was married to an Austrian princess. 
The windows of the Cathedral were filled with beautiful stained glass; 
one of the windows was round, and the glass was of a great many 
colours. The cathedral is very old. Bordeaux is a fine old city. 
The quai on which our hotel was is very wide, and the river has a great 
lot of large ships in it and a great many steamers. We left so early the 
next morning that I had not time to draw any of them; but they would 
have been too difficult for me, I think. In crossing the Landes from 
Cette to Toulouse, and between Bordeaux and Pau, we saw many 
sheep, and the shepherds were sometimes walking on stilts, very high, 
so that they may see further over the Landes while their sheep are 
feeding. Near Cette we saw a lot of storks on the shore of the sea 
which runs up into the country, and there was one very large lake with 


several towns on its banks. The name of this lake is Etang, and I 
believe that one of the towns is called Aigues Mortes. 

We came from Bordeaux to Pau by rail-way in about five hours. 
We had very cold rooms in the hotel, and the weather was very bad 
for a while; it snowed every day for more than a week, and sometimes 
it snowed very hard, but the snow melted directly. After that, the 
weather cleared up, and we had some very fine days, so that Minnie 
could go out in a carriage. We heard the birds sing in the trees, and 
two or three days we heard a Cuckoo whistle so prettily. We see the 
mountains covered withsnowfromourwindows; they looksobeautiful. 
Poor little Minnie is getting thinner every day. She does not care for 
anything any more. Emily and I bought her some beautiful Easter 
eggs but she would not look at them. She never talks nor smiles now. 
Good-bye dear Ben; write soon. 

Yours affectionately, 

John S. Sargent. 

From Pau the family moved to Biarritz. From Biarritz he 
wrote again to Ben del Castillo. Here, again, appears his pre- 
occupation with the visible world, as if its primary purpose 
was to supply copy for his sketch-book. The thing actually 
seen, apart from any fancy that it might set in motion, counts 
for more than is to be expected in the outlook of a boy of nine. 


Dear Be,, M *> l8M > l86 5' 

Day before yesterday we wen t to San Sebastian where there is a 
fort on the top of a hill. Near the foot there are a great many English 
soldiers' graves; I have a little picture of one in my album. I also 
made a little picture of the Battery, and a good many ships. While I 
was sitting down drawing one of the tombstones, Mamma and Papa 
went up to the fort on the top of the hill, leaving Emily and me, 
because the hill was too steep for Emily to go up. While I was drawing 
something some of the workmen who were making a new road up to the 
fort, came and hid Emily and me under a rock, because they were just 
going to blast a rock halfway up the hill. These English soldiers who 
are buried on this hill, were killed in an attack made in 1813 by the 
English army which came from Spain into France to conquer Napoleon. 
The brother of a lady whom we know in Pau commanded the troops 
who attacked the fort which was garrisoned by the French. The 
soldiers were buried just where they were killed. 


St. Sebastian is a very clean little town. There are two very large 
churches there — one of them is a Cathedral. The houses are very tall 
and every window has a balcony. We staid two days at a hotel which 
has a view of the sea. One evening we saw some men packing codfish in 
baskets to Saragosa, every day they send a great many fish to different 
parts of Spain. We came to Biarritz at about half past 9, and we left 
St. Sebastian at almost seven o'clock. Just as we got into the omnibus 
it began to rain, but when we got to the station it rained very little. 
Fortunately when we got to Biarritz it did not rain much, so that we 
got home without getting wet. But when we got to the house the 
doors were all locked and Madame Lisalde had gone to bed and the 
nurse was asleep and so we had to knock a long time before we could 

° ' Your affectionate friend, 

John Sargent. 

On June 22, still at Biarritz, he wrote again: 


^ „ June iind. 186c. 

Dear Ben, j i D 


I will have many because we will go to Pau very soon. Papa sent me 

a very nice book on shells from London. There was no storm in the 

Bay of Biscay since Papa left us. To-day the sea was very rough but 

we do not feel uneasy about that, for we hope that he has landed safely 

at Boston, theCaptain of the Asia said that they would be there to-day. 

Papa sent us a beautiful book with nice stories of domestic animals, 

such as dogs, horses, donkeys and cats called "Our dumb companions." 

It is full of nice pictures, and I am copying some of them for Papa. 

He also sent Emily a nice book about embroidery, and some books to 


We are going to Pau on Saturday week and will stay only a few days, 

to get ready to go to the Eaux Bonnes. Mamma has promised to take 

us to see the Chateau there where Henry Quatre was born. I hope 

you will write to me soon. v ~ . r . , 

J Your affectionate friend, 

John S. Sargent. 

Later in the summer Mrs. Sargent and her children went 
to London to await the return of Mr. Sargent from America. 
In October they were in Paris, and another letter to his friend 
records the sights and events which had impressed him during 
his first visit to London. 



_ „ Oct. iyh y 1865. 

Dear Bex, j ' D 

I am sorry that you did not get theletters that we wrote to you 

last. We have often thought of writing to you since we knew that you 

had not received them, but we have been so busy sightseeing that we 

have not had time. We spent several weeks in London, and the things 

which interested me most there were theZoological Gardens the Crystal 

Palace, the South Kensington Museum. At the Zoological Gardens 

we saw the Lions fed, and I rode on a camel's neck, and Emily and I 

rode on an elephant. I made several drawings of the animals there. 

At the Crystal Palace we saw models of some of the animals which 

lived upon the earth before man. I copied several of them: the 

Iguanodon, Labyrinthodon, Pterodactyle, Ickthyosaurus Megalo- 

saurus and Mammoth. The Mammoth was sitting on his hind legs 

eating the leaves offa tree. At the South Kensington Museum we saw 

some very finepaintingsofLandseer,thecelebrated animal painter, and 

a very fine picture by Rosa Bonheur called the horse fair, but the most 

curious thing there was an oyster forming a pearl; the oyster was in 

spirits of wine. On our way to Paris we stopped at Sheerness to see the 

Great Eastern. We took a little row boat and a couple of sailors rowed 

us to her, about three miles. We went on board, and saw a great many 

pieces of the cable, and the first officer gave Mamma a piece of it. 

Yesterday we went to the hotel de Cluny, and saw very curious things; 

there were several cases filled with stone tools made before men knew 

how to work in iron; they were taken out of caves in different parts of 

France; there were lots of bones of different animals taken out of the 

same caves. W 7 e saw a very curious ship that looked as if it had been 

made of gold. It was full of men holding ropes in their hands, while 

others were ready to beat on drums. I believe it was presented to one 

of the Kings of France by an Emperor of China. 

I am 

Your affectionate friend 

John S. Sargent. 

P.S. — Give my love to your Father and Mother. 

The letters are slight, but not without significance. There 
is no irrelevance or comment; he catches the essential trait of 
what has roused his interest, and records it with few words. It 
is no ordinary boy of nine who, on dismounting from the ele- 
phant at the Zoological Gardens, sets to work to "make several 
drawings of the animals there. ,> 

Chapter II 

IN May, 1868, the family was in Spain visiting Madrid, 
Valencia, Cordoba, Seville and Cadiz. From Cadiz they 
sailed to Gibraltar and on the journey were caught in a 
storm. The vessel was in peril; Sargent, however, seems to have 
been as little disturbed by danger in his boyhood as he was in 
after years. In Spain the heat was great, the inns abominable. 
The fortress of Gibraltar impressed the boy more than the 
scenery and those Spanish galleries which later were to exercise 
such authority over his taste and art. In the summer they were 
in Switzerland, and at Murren they met Mr. Joseph Farquharson, 
when the future Academicians began a friendship which lasted 
till the death of Sargent. Mr. Farquharson, some years senior 
to Sargent, impressed by the boy's talent, gave him his first les- 
sons in drawing a head. Murren was only one of many halting- 
places. Mrs. Sargent, with her insatiable love of travel, had 
succeeded in convincing everyone else concerned that it was 
more economical to be on the move than to remain stationary. 
This locomotive disposition, therefore, was not the expression of 
a family fidgety in habit, but had economy as well as enlighten- 
ment for its aim. 

The winter of 1868-69 was spent in Rome, on the Trinita 
dei Monti, and here the momentous decision was made as to 
Sargent's future. Every day that passed had emphasized his 
affinity with art. In Rome a German-American landscape 
painter, Carl Welsch, long since forgotten, took an interest in 
the boy and noted his aptitude for drawing. He invited him 
to come and work in his studio, and Sargent used to spend the 
mornings in copying the water-colours of Welsch. 

Those who frequented the society of the Sargents also recog- 
nized that the boy possessed a talent of no ordinary quality. 
The recognition became vocal; it was supported by his mother 






and reluctantly admitted by his father. The idea of a naval 
career was first shelved, then irrevocably dismissed. It was 
agreed that in due course he should study seriously for the career 
of a painter. 

Here there may be noted a superficial resemblance to the 
career of another distinguished American, James Whistler, who 
in his youth was destined for the profession of a soldier. Whistler, 
however, was actually entered as a pupil at the Military Academy 
of West Point, and it was only after three years that his inability 
to master the elements of chemistry, his habit of decorating his 
military exercises with the irrelevant fancies of his pencil, and 
his incapacity to bring his ideas of discipline into line with those 
of the authorities, led to his retirement. His breakdown in his 
viva voce examination in chemistry at least enabled him to say: 
"If Silicon had been a gas I should have been a Major-General." * 

It is idle to speculate what would have occurred had Sargent 
been forced to pursue his naval career. Swinburne, writing 
of Jowett, Master of Balliol, expresses the belief that had the 
Master taken to hunting he would have been a hard rider to 
hounds. W r e may be equally confident that had Sargent been 
driven into the Navy, his force of character and sense of duty 
would have carried him to the top. Meanwhile his education 
was continued with such changes in his preceptors as were 
necessary to keep pace with the changes in habitation. Greek, 
Latin and mathematics, the conventional curriculum, were sup- 
plemented by music and foreign languages, in which he quickly 
began to excel. 

In the spring of 1869 the family were as usual on the wing, 
visiting Naples and Sorrento. A letter from Sorrento gives an 
idea of their wanderings and what they saw. 


Dear Ben, Ma ^ ^ rd > l86 9' 

I wrote a letter to you some days ago before weleft Naples, but 
it has got mislaid and I cannot find it. We are staying at the Hotel 
Cocumella which was once a convent and at every door on the bricks 

* E. R. and J. Pennell, "Life of James Whistler," p. 33. 


there is Riposo, or Pace, or Silenzio. The day after we arrived at 
Naples, we went to the old town of Pozzuoli and Baiae and on the way- 
there we went to the crater of the Solfatara a volcano near Pozzuoli. 
We also saw the caverns of the Cumaean Sybil, on the banks of the 
Lake Avernus. The Museum of Naples is very fine and more interesting 
than either the Capitol or Vatican at Rome, because all the bronzes 
and frescoes from Pompeii and Herculaneum are there. 

We went to Pompeii a few days ago by railway only three quarters 
of an hour from Naples. It is very interesting, and you see the houses 
of Glaucus and the heroes of Bulwer's "Last days of Pompeii." 

The houses are very well preserved and the walls of the rooms are 
generally covered with frescoes, but they have taken away the finest 
frescoes to the Museum of Naples. In the house of Diomed you see the 
cellar where Julia his daughter and a lot of women weresuffocated,and 
we saw the oven where 8 1 loaves of bread were found, which have been 
taken to the museum, they are enough cooked by this time. You are 
not allowed to give anything to the guide who shows you about, and 
they sell photographs of Pompeii to you instead. 

Day before yesterday we sailed for the Island of Capri 14 miles 
off. We went first to see the Blue Grotto the entrance of which is so 
small that you get into a little boat and lie down in the bottom of it. 
But when you are in, it is very large. The light all comes from the 
water, which is of a light blue and is reflected on the roof. From the 
Blue Grotto we went to the Villa of Tiberius, which is perched up on 
a peak about 1360 feet above the sea, and a little lower down is a place 
called the Salto di Tiberio, where Tiberius used to throw off his 
victims into the sea. It is 1335 feet high, and if you throw a large 
stone over it is almost 30 seconds before it falls into the sea. Then 
we saw the natural arch which is very fine. 

After you left Rome, Ma gave me a large album of white Roman 
binding to stick photographs in, and I have stuck in about 60 of Rome 
and a great many of Naples. I have a good many old Greek and 
Roman poets, and I am trying to get the first Caesars. I will get 
some photographs of the Museum at Munich, where there are some 
very beautiful statues. 

We will leave Sorrento on Monday, day after to-morrow, and we 
will be seven days in getting to Munich. The first night we will 
spend in Roma, the second at Ancona, third at Padua, the fourth 
Botzen, Innsbruck, Munich, and from Munich we will go to Carlsbad 
in Bohemia for waters for Papa. 

Madame Darij told me to thank you for her, about your kind mes- 
sage as to the health of her quadrupeds, Diana and Adone, who are alive 
and kicking. Before we left Rome Mr. Darij gave me 28 coins and 


some intaglios and he gave Emily also some intaglios, but to Violet he 
gave two oil pictures, 23 coins and a lot of intaglios, one of which she 
has had set in a ring. 

Mamma and Papa send their love to your father and mother, ana 
hope they will write soon. Emily sends her love to you and your father 
and mother, and give mine too, and accept a great deal for yourself. 

I remain your affectionate friend, 

John S. Sargent. 

P.S. — Address to Poste Restante, Carlsbad, Bohemia. 

Sargent, now thirteen years old and specifically pledged to 
the profession of an artist, was busy in and out of season with 
his pencil — observing and noting before getting to work, crouch- 
ing over his sketch, then lifting his head and holding up the 
drawing the better to criticize. The drawings were precocious, 
not in imagination, but as literal records of what was immediately 
before him. He drew whatever came to hand, never worrying to 
find special subjects, but just enjoying the sheer fun of translat- 
ing on to paper the record of what he saw. He seems, as a boy, 
never to have drawn "out of his head." The usual fancies from 
history and mythology, which even the gravest artists in boyhood 
have turned to, do not appear to have engaged his attention. 
He was much more taken up with things there before his eyes, the 
shadow of an oleander on a wall, the attitude of a fellow-traveller 
in a railway carriage, the bronze figures round the tomb of 
Maximilian at Innsbruck, a country cart, a statue, or a corner 
of architecture — any detail, in fact, of the visible world. 

The winter was spent by the family at Florence, 4, Via Sol- 
ferino, and here Sargent followed his studies at a day-school kept 
by a Monsieur Domenge, a political refugee. This winter too he 
went to dancing classes. He told me that on one occasion the 
usual pianist was unable to attend, and the class was on the point 
of being dissolved when it was remembered that someone who 
played and might be willing to fill the vacancy lived on the floor 
above. Presently a handsome old lady dressed in black silk came 
into the room. He noted a certain faded elegance about her as 
she took her place at the piano. The lady was Jane Clairmont, 
now seventy-two years of age, the mistress of Byron, the mother 


of Allegra, who, after wandering over Europe as a governess, 
had finally settled in Florence, and was living on the proceeds of 
a legacy left her by Shelley. She died in 1879. For some time 
before her death there had been living as a lodger in her house 
in the Via Romana a certain Captain Silsbee, of the American 
Mercantile Marine. Captain Silsbee was a friend of the Sargents. 
He was a typical American skipper, dramatized by a buccaneer- 
ing appearance and by a crop of piratical legends and tales of 
"moving accidents by flood and field," which, though guaranteed 
by his appearance, had no other support. One of his stories 
which gave great delight to Sargent as a boy was that of a fall, 
when in command of a steamer, into an oil tank, and of his being 
left so long to struggle in that medium before he was pulled out 
that his hair positively refused ever to curl again. As far as looks 
went he seemed the last man in the world one would expect to be 
interested in Shelley; nevertheless — perhaps he felt the darker 
side of his calling required some spiritual antidote — the fact was 
that the master passion of his life was Shelley and Shelley relics. 
Vernon Lee relates that he would "come and sit gloomily in an 
armchair, looking like some deep-sea monster on a Bernini foun- 
tain, staring at the carpet and quoting his favourite author with a 
trumpet-like twang quite without relevance to the conversation. " 
A stranger would to his astonishment hear interjected into the 
discussion "O World, O Life, O Time," or one of the shorter 
lyrics, from a member of the party who had till then attracted 
attention only by his appearance and his silence. Silsbee had 
long known that Jane Clairmont had in her possession certain 
manuscripts of Shelley; and these he had made every effort to 
acquire. To strengthen his position he had dug himself in under 
the very walls of the fortress, and, as we have seen, taken up his 
residence in the same building as Jane Clairmont, in the Via 
Romana. It was even said that he never ventured far from the 
house lest the owner of the manuscripts should die during his 
absence. When, however, Jane Clairmont did die the Captain 
was in America. He rushed back at once to Florence to wrest 
from Jane's companion and niece the papers which he had 
failed to obtain in the old woman's lifetime. Then arose an 


unfortunate complication. The niece, mature in years and 
gifted with few of the graces which appeal to buccaneers, had 
long nourished a secret flame for the Captain. She declared 
her passion and proposed a bargain; the manuscripts should be 
the Captain's, but he must take her in marriage as a term of the 
deal. The Captain refused to pay the price; he left the Via 
Romana and the manuscripts and fled from Florence. This 
story was told to Henry James, and within a few weeks he pro- 
duced "The Aspern Papers." The hero, it will be remembered, 
evades the offer in a state of the deepest embarrassment with the 
words, "It wouldn't do, it wouldn't do." In Sargent's narrative 
the American skipper showed no embarrassment and merely 
expressed profound annoyance at losing the manuscripts. In 
1900 Sargent did a charcoal drawing of Silsbee, which now hangs 
in the Bodleian. Silsbee died in 1904. 

The Sargents, after the usual summer wanderings, passed 
the winter of 1870 at Florence at 15, Via Magenta. The Anglo- 
American colony had considerably enlarged. Arthur Lemon 
the painter, Heath Wilson, the Oakleys, the Eyres and Bronsons 
and many others were there. The Sargents' house became a 
centre where the colony often gathered. Two of the Sargent 
children had died, Mary Newbold in 1853 and Mary Winthrop 
in 1865. John thus became the eldest child. A fifth child, 
Violet, who afterwards married Mr. Ormond, had been born in 
Florence in February, 1870. There were therefore now three 
children in the family, John, Emily and Violet. 

Mrs. Sargent was now at liberty to press on with the artistic 
education of her son; the decision had been made. He was 
entered as a student from the life at the Academia delle Belle 
Arti, where he quickly asserted his superiority and gained the 
annual prize. During the spring-time, when not engaged in his 
classes, he would set out with his mother to sketch in the neigh- 
bourhood, in the Boboli Gardens, or in the Poderi of Fiesole, 
or among the valleys and slopes that curl and tumble from the 
mountains to the plain, or among the olives and cypresses at 
their feet. The inspiration of his mother, her directing energy 
and her own deftness in sketching were there to stimulate and 


abet him. She was prodigal of her sympathy and encourage- 
ment. One receives an impression of activity and thoroughness, 
of an animating spirit bent on enlarging the endowment she 
had so confidently detected in her son. It was not enough to 
have relegated the naval career to limbo, she had to justify the 
change of course for which she had been responsible and recon- 
cile her husband to this dedication of his son to art. 

Sargent was at this time tall for his thirteen years, slim of 
form, warm in colour, his hair dark, a look of alacrity and welcome 
in his eyes, a gait that was brisk and decided, and spirits that 
broke lightly into laughter. "A big-eyed, sentimental, charming 
boy, playing the mandoline very pleasantly." * He was already 
an indomitable worker, with a disposition mellow with kindli- 
ness and goodwill. If he was sometimes imposed on, and if his 
good nature sometimes seemed to warrant aggression, this could 
never be carried far. He had a hot temper, a reserve of pug- 
nacity, which was not so deep down that it could not be roused. 
Two hectoring contemporaries in Florence found their attempts 
at bullying met with a response which effectually secured im- 
munity henceforward for their intended victim. This militant 
spirit in Sargent was always capable of being roused under suffi- 
cient provocation and was finally to land him in difficulties of 
a legal kind in England. 

* Mrs. Hugh Fraser, "A Diplomatist's Wife in Many Lands," i., p. 143. 

Chapter III 

THE Sargents spent the winter of 1871-72 in Dresden, the 
summer of 1872 in the usual to-and-fro among the resorts 
of Switzerland and the Tyrol. In the autumn they 
were back again in Florence in the Villino della Terre Via dei 
Serragli. Edward Clifford the artist was a visitor to Florence that 
winter, and like everyone who saw Sargent's work he realized that 
it held promise of an exceptional talent. It was already more 
or less understood that Sargent should study in Paris. Clifford 
opposed the idea and begged that he should come as a pupil to 
London. The vogue of respectability was just then at its height in 
England; Paris and respectability were regarded as inconsistent. 
The study of French art meant Montmartre and the Latin Quarter 
and if there was something sinister in the ordinary life of Paris, 
student life was the summit of all that was detrimental. To 
attempt an artistic education in that capital was to ride for a cer- 
tain fall. This was the view of the kindly Edward Clifford, and 
he impressed it on the Sargents with the fervour of a prophet. 
He offered the security of his own studio as an alternative. He 
was eloquent over the sheltered advantages of an education in 
England. His appeal was sincere and tinged with the zeal of a 
puritanic faith. The so-called "wicked nineties" were still well 
below the horizon. The choice therefore lay between London 
with its solid repute and its artistic atmosphere, which, if in 
some respects uninspiring, was at any rate staid and securely 
academic, and Paris with its crying dangers but with its studios 
at the moment quick with experiment and new ideas. The 
choice for parents of that date and with New England traditions 
was no easy one to make. It cannot have been without mis- 
giving that Mr. Sargent decided for Paris; a decision which, if 
we take into account his views, was proof of the liberality of his 



judgment and his belief in his son. Never was foresight better 

In the interval the Sargents pursued their usual wanderings, 
and in February, 1874, the year which was to see Sargent estab- 
lished in Paris, they took apartments on the Grand Canal, 
Venice. Two letters of this date, written to his cousin Mrs. 
Austin, record some of his early estimations of old Masters, and 
the difficulties which attended the study of art in Florence. 
His admiration for Tintoretto never varied; to the end of his 
days Tintoretto remained for him one of the supreme masters 
of painting. 

15, Via Magenta, Florence, 

~ Ayr A March iind y 1874. 

Dear Mrs. Austin, ,nr 

I thank you very much for your kind letter and for your kind- 
ness in taking the trouble to get me these photographs, which I have 
always regretted not having bought while I was in Dresden. 

According to your letter, I send back the two little ones, with a 
thaler note, and beg you to get me three of the ten groschen size. 
No. 78 is the Adoration which I particularly desired, but the other 
one, No. 82, is almost as beautiful, so, if you please, I shall have them 
both, and another picture also by Paul Veronese, the finding of Moses \ 
this is, if I remember rightly in the third large Italian room, on the 
left and perhaps opposite the Correggios. You will know it by the 
very fine figure of the princess, leaning on another woman. These 
three at 10 gr will make a thaler exactly, unless the Thaler has changed 
its value of 30 gr. since we were in Dresden. 

I am sorry to hear that the magnificent Tintoretto has not been 
photographed, for I remember it as being very fine, but I must content 
myself with a little outline of the principal female figure in one of my 
Dresden Sketchbooks. 

Since seeing that picture, I have learned in Venice to admire Tinto- 
retto immensely and to consider him perhaps second only to Michael 
Angelo and Titian, whose beauties it was his aim to unite. If my 
artistic cousin Mary would like to read about Tintoretto, and know 
the opinion his contemporaries had of him, before his pictures had 
blackened and faded, and before the great pictures on the ceiling of 
San Rocco in Venice were used as sieves for rain water which was 
collected in buckets on the floor, she may find in the royal library an 
old Italian book entitled "Le Maraviglie dell' Arte, ovvero Vite degli 
Illustri pittori Veneti e dello Stato" by Ridolfi. This book contains 


detailed biographical sketches of Titian, Veronese and Tintoretto 
besides other Venetian painters, and expresses the then current belief 
that Tintoretto was rarely equalled and never surpassed by Paul 
Veronese. I hope Mary keeps up her drawing and frequents the 
"Sammlung der Gipsabgusse" where she will find no end of models 
in heads and statues. Thanking you again for your kindness I re- 
main, with much love from all to all, 

Your affect ato cousin, 

John S. Sargent. 

15, Via Magenta, Florence, 

Dear Mrs. Austin, * % ^ j 74- 

I have been waiting all this time to send this letter with one 
from Mama but she has been hindered by severe colds and getting 
ready to leave, and I will no longer postpone thanking y r ou for the 
beautiful photos that you were so kind as to send me. 

We are packing up in order to leave in the first week in May but the 
date of our departure is rendered rather uncertain by the provoking 
fact of my having sprained my ankle very severely two weeks ago on the 
stairs of the Academy; I am yet unable to use my right foot, and this 
prevents our leaving on the first of May as we had intended. Then 
our destination has been changed by reports of Cholera in Venice and 
of unique artistic training in Paris, so that we are bound for the latter 
place where we hope we may perhaps meet you. The Academy in 
Paris is probably better than the one here and we hear that the French 
artists undoubtedly the best now-a-days, are willing to take pupils in 
their studios. I do not think however, that I am sufficiently advanced 
to enter a studio now, and I will probably have to study another year 
at the Academy. We go to Paris now for a short time to make en- 
quiries about this, which will decide whether we go to Paris or not for 
next winter. This unhappy Accademiadelle Belle Arti in Florence is the 
most unsatisfactory institution imaginable, human ingenuity has never 
contrived anything so unsatisfactory. It was closed for two months 
from Christmas to March while the Professors and the Minister of 
Public Instruction deliberated a thorough reform in its organisation, 
and when reopened the only perceptible change was that we, the 
students from the cast, were left without a Master, while the former 
Professor vacillated and still vacillates between resigning and continu- 
ing his instructions. However, this has been of no more consequence 
to me since my sprained ankle keeps me at home where I have a very 
handsome Neapolitan model to draw and paint, who plays on the 


Zampogna and tamburino and dances tarantellas for us when he is 
tired of sitting. I hope Mary perseveres in the Fine Arts and compels 
her model to dance when he is tired. 

I am, 

Yr. affect ate cousin, 

John S. Sargent. 

In spite of cholera scares Venice was their first objective. 
Here they met Whistler, who, born in 1834, was now in his 
fortieth year. It was to prove a critical year in the history 
of Whistler's fame. He had before this made his headquarters 
in London, and in June he was to hold an exhibition of his works 
at 48, Pall Mall. His work, although accepted on more than one 
occasion by the Royal Academy, had each year tended to create 
a little more bewilderment amongst the critics, who, beginning 
with guarded benediction, were now in 1874 emerging into a 
state of declared and open disapproval. The picture of his 
mother had been in the first instance rejected by the Committee 
of the Royal Academy in 1872, and subsequently accepted only 
in consequence of a threat of resignation by Sir William Boxall, 
a member of the Council. Not only, therefore, was he ill at 
ease with established Academic opinion, and at war with the 
critics, but he had already mystified and estranged the public. 
He was now contemplating a further challenge to the art world 
of London, by an exhibition of his collected works destined to 
be aggravated by his adopting a nomenclature for his pictures 
borrowed from the vocabulary of music. The device was in- 
tended to emphasize the significance of individual pictures. 
Thus the famous portrait of Miss Alexander had as an explana- 
tory title Harmony in Grey and Green, while other pictures were 
described as Symphonies, Arrangements, Variations, or in the 
case of the picture of Cremorne at Night, the subject of Ruskin's 
hysterical attack, as Nocturnes, It was a novel departure, by 
no means likely to make converts or temper the hostility he had 
aroused. In any case, Whistler stood apart from the main cur- 
rent of English painting. His work was as remote from the 
minute accuracy of the Pre-Raphaelites as it was from the pic- 
torial anecdotes then in fashion on the walls of the Academy. 


To the older generation, in the words of Millais, he was "a great 
power of mischief among younger men." Conciliation in any 
form was not one of the gentle arts which his genius was at any 
time ready to practise. He was essentially a fighter. The 
battle he was waging in London had certain resemblances to 
the struggle going on in Paris. But whereas in London he 
was single-handed, in Paris the innovators could count on 

Whistler was enthusiastic over his young compatriot's water- 
colours and drawings. Thus began distinctly friendly relations 
between them which lasted till the elder artist's death in 1903. 
Later, when Sargent was as yet little heard of in England, Whistler 
was one of the earliest to direct attention to his work. In 1894 
Sargent, a consistent admirer of Whistler's painting, together 
with St. Gaudens, tried to get him to decorate one of the large 
panels on the stairs of the Boston Library. W T histler described 
this as an act of "rare and noble camaraderie."* The project 
hung fire. He got as far as making notes for the design, which he 
told Mr. Pennell was to be a peacock ten feet high; but the scheme 
never matured. Sargent used to say that Whistler's use of 
paint was so exquisite that if a piece of canvas were cut out of one 
of his pictures one would find that it was in itself a thing of beauty 
by the very texture and substance into which it had been trans- 
formed by his brush. It has more than once been said that 
the two painters were far from friendly to one another. This 
is contrary to the fact. Temperamentally it is true, they differed 
profoundly. There was in Whistler an overt antagonism to 
opinions and accomplishments with which he was not in sym- 
pathy that to Sargent was incomprehensible. Nor was his ap- 
preciation of Sargent's maturer work by any means enthusiastic. 
Yet, unlike as the two men were in most respects, their relations 
were uniformly friendly, and no one enjoyed Whistler's devas- 
tating wit more than Sargent. 

To someone who brought a commission to Whistler and with 
consummate folly insisted that the suggested picture should be 
a "serious work," he retorted that "he could not break with 

* E. R. and J. Pennell, "The Whistler Journal," p. 34. 


the tradition of a lifetime.' ' That was a vindication that entirely 
delighted Sargent. It was the sort of rebuke that anyone who 
tampered so clumsily with an artist's susceptibilities thoroughly 
deserved. But Sargent had not got Whistler's ruthlessness. He 
could never have replied to the student who said his trouble 
was to paint what he saw. "Your trouble will begin when you 
see what you paint." 

The summer of 1874 was spent by the Sargent family at 
Benzeval. In August they moved to Paris and took up their 
residence at 52, Rue Abbatrice. It was the official beginning 
of Sargent's career as a painter. He at once started work at 
the Ecole des Beaux Arts, which was then presided over by 
M. Yvon. From the following it will be seen that he was very 
soon faced with an examination, and that the prospect filled 
him with all the normal perturbations and misgivings. 

52, Rue Abbatrice, 

a* -n Oct. Ath> 1874. 

My dear Ben, ^ 5 '^ 

Caro il mio ben. I am in the midst of my exam and very busy 

consequently I can only write a few lines to thank you for your kind 

and interesting letter. 

The exam is the Concours de Place for the life school of M. Yvon 
and it seems unreasonably long difficult and terrible. It began on the 
26th of September and two weeks are still to come. The epreuves de 
Perspective et d Anatomie are over; I wish I might say as much for the 
Dessin d'Ornement which is in store for us tomorrow morning. But 
the supreme moment is one of twelve hours wherein we must make a 
finished drawing of the human form divine. 

Heaven only knows whether I shall get through; also Heaven alone 
could bring such a miracle to pass; therefore let us implore its aid and 
do our best. After this Concours my regular winter work will com- 
mence at the Atelier. 

Has this summer been pleasant to you ? I have never passed a more 
delightful one. We have been as you know in the habit of spending 
our summer in the land of rocks and cheeses as Violet calls it, and the 
sea shore has been such a pleasant change that I have no doubt we 
will return to Normandy or Brittany next year. 

We look forward with much pleasure to your flying visit next 
Xmas. Please take pains to inject your eye with belladonna that we 
may judge if your description is as accurate as it is amusing. 



Do you know whether that restless impetuous Joe Francia who 
bores one with repeated visits is in Paris ? I should like to see what he 
has been painting. 

And now, dear Old Ben, I must close. Please divide our best love 
between your mother and yourself and 
Believe me ever 

Yr. very affect, old friend, 

John S. Sargent. 

In October he entered the studio of Carolus Duran, then the 
foremost portrait painter in Paris. 

Few painters have reached success by steeper paths than 
Carolus Duran. He was born at Lille on July 4, 1837, and was 
of Spanish descent through his paternal grandfather. In his 
native town he was entered as a pupil of the painter Souchon, 
who in his student days had been a pupil of David. His promise 
was unmistakable, but his poverty was great. After bitter 
struggles he amassed just sufficient money to seek in 1858 the 
wider field of Paris. Here his talents were unrecognized; he 
was unable to earn a livelihood. He attended not at the Ecolc 
des Beaux Arts but at the Academie Suisse, where he met Fantin 
Latour, and where teaching meant, in the main, leaving pupils 
to work out their own salvation. He frequented the Louvre, 
and by copying well-known pictures for a few francs he was able 
to keep himself from actual want. His hope was fast failing. 
But he believed in himself, and he was gifted with a spirit not 
easily vanquished. At the blackest moment in i860 he returned 
to Lille, where with his picture Visite au Convalescent he won 
the Wicar prize. With the money he set out for Italy. There 
in the monastery of Subiaco, in the neighbourhood of Rome, 
he shut himself up to study the elements of his art. Thence he 
returned to Paris to experience a further period of trial and dis- 
couragement. He could find no patron and he was unable to 
obtain orders. 

He was now twenty-five years of age, of medium height, with 
regular and handsome features and dark eyes. His dark hair 
was parted in the middle with a curl thrown out on each side of 
his forehead, and he wore a Velasquez beard, which gave an 


outward sign of his Spanish origin. He did not falter in the 
will to succeed. In 1865 he was back at Lille painting portraits 
for 150 francs apiece. Then in 1866 he produced a picture, 
UAssassin'e, strongly marked by the influence of Courbet and 
now in the museum at Lille, which was purchased for 5,000 
francs. This picture proved the turning-point in his career. 
The canvas shows a group of peasants gathered about a stretcher 
on which lies the body of a murdered man. In the grouping 
of the onlookers, in the record of their emotions, varying from 
horror to mere curiosity, and in the concentration of interest 
brought about by the light on the victim there is a robust and 
dramatic power — but the picture denotes no departure from the 
prevailing French tradition. 

The purchase of the picture enabled Carolus Duran to visit 
Spain. Here he fell under the influence of Velasquez. After 
six months he returned to Paris, dominated by his impressions 
of the Spanish master, whose works he had assiduously copied. 
In 1869, under this new inspiration, he painted La Dame au 
Gant, a portrait of Madame Duran. With this picture his repu- 
tation was established. He moved from success to success, 
becoming the most popular portrait painter in Paris. Fortune, 
as if to atone, now showered on him prosperity and success. 
He became a dominant figure in Paris life. Never free from a 
certain affectation (had he not changed his name from Charles 
Durand to Carolus Duran ?) and with an air which was slightly 
flamboyant, he was the victim of not a few caricatures and 
popular gibes. His habit of caracoling like a riding master 
in the Bois de Boulogne on a prancing barb earned him the 
title of Caracolus Duran; his skill at billiards that of Caram- 
bolus Duran. His mastery of the guitar, his proficiency with 
the foils, his good looks, his sumptuous home in the Champs 
Elysees, were interpreted at times as a love of ostentation and 
excited the envy and criticism of those outside the circle of his 

In 1874, tne y ear in which Sargent entered his studio, he held 
an exhibition of his portraits. It is mainly as a portrait painter 
that he survives to-day, though he worked in other fields as well. 


In France Carolus Duran was the favourite of the critics. 
He was acclaimed as a colourist; his portraits were applauded for 
their incisive force, for the skill with which he laid emphasis 
on revealing characteristics, for his power of detaching the sitter 
from superfluous accessories and decor and bringing him into a 
relation personal with the spectator. 

He was the portrayer of the society of his time, of its silks 
and its fashions, its moods and its temper. It was a world 
that thought well of itself and its equipment, an atmosphere 
that was at least on the surface untroubled and serene. Duran 
does not dive too deeply into its significance. Men of letters 
and science, politicians and leaders of the fashionable faubourgs, 
pass before him and are arrested on his canvases — easy, rep- 
resentative, distinguished people, smooth and deliberate in their 
outlook on the world. The tradition of "Academisme" is there, 
but it is altered, relieved of many of its conventions and some 
of its dulness. 

The atelier* was "run" by some American students, who 
made a fixed charge to cover expenses. Duran, very much as a 
surgeon at a hospital, gave his services for nothing. That was 
the general practice, to which the well-known studio of Julien 
was one of the few exceptions. A painter would look to a return 
for his services in the prestige of his studio, and the missionary 
work done on his behalf by his students. In all cases the ad- 
vancement of art was a sufficient pretext. The pupils of the 
atelier Duran worked in a studio on the Boulevard Montparnasse. 
A model would be drawn on Monday and painting would begin 
on Tuesday. Twice a week, generally on Tuesday and Friday, 
Duran himself would descend from Olympus to review the work 
of his pupils. The visit was a very formal affair. Nothing was 
omitted that could add prestige to the occasion. The Master's 
entry was the signal for the pupils to rise in their places; then 
while they stood beside their easels he would approach one or 
other of them, and after a moment's inspection of their work and 
without turning round, hold out his hand for the brush or pencil 

* Mr. Joseph Farquharson, R.A., and Mr. C. M. Newton, both at one time in the 
atelier^ have kindly supplied me with the facts. 


with which the pupil stood ready: having made his corrections 
he would pass on to a neighbouring easel. His observations 
were brief and his commendations exceedingly rare. On one 
occasion a newly arrived pupil standing by his easel and seeing 
Duran's hand extended after an examination of his work, in the 
customary way for brush or pencil, assumed that the gesture had 
a congratulatory purpose. He accordingly seized the Master's 
hand with undisguised pleasure. The mistake was not forgiven. 
The sanctity of the routine had to be protected from shocks of 
such a kind. Shortly afterwards the offending novice left to 
achieve distinction in a career remote from art. One day a 
week the whole class would adjourn to Duran's own studio, 
where, with the awe in those days more easily inspired, they 
would watch the Master at work. No great cordiality seems to 
have existed between Duran and his pupils. They were there 
to learn and he was there to teach, and that was the beginning 
and end of it. 

During Sargent's first year of attendance R. A. M. Stevenson 
( 1 847-1900) was a pupil. Stevenson, after graduating at Cam- 
bridge in 1 871, had been studying at the ficole des Beaux Arts, 
Antwerp. Robert Louis Stevenson has described his cousin 
Bob in "Talk and Talkers" under the guise of "Spring Heel'd 
Jack." An atelier presided over by Carolus Duran was no place 
for spring heels. The conversation of "R. A. M." was icono- 
clastic and revolutionary, "glancing high like a meteor and mak- 
ing light in darkness"; to Academism it was sedition. It kept 
Duran uneasy. Thirty-two years later Sargent was asked by 
Mr. D. S. MacColl to exert his influence in obtaining a pension 
for Stevenson's widow. He wrote as follows: 

w A , r> NOV. 21, IQl6. 

My dear MacColl, 

Your schemes seem to be always of the best and I will be delight- 
ed to help in this one if I can. To begin with I shall at once read the 
book,* which I am sorry to say I have not done. But even without this 
book I think he has the greatest claim to public gratitude for his admir- 
able teaching. 

* R. A. M. Stevenson, "Velasquez." 






c := 


Throughout his life he gave his extraordinary powers and talent to 

the purpose of letting others into the secret and there must be many 

who are grateful. ... v , 

D lours sincerely, 

John S. Sargent. 
Later he wrote again: 

My dear MacColl, 

... I am afraid you would be disappointed in the slightness of 
my acquaintance with R. A. M. Stevenson and of my recollections of 
him in the old days, when for a year I was with him in Carolus Duran's 
studio which he left long before I did. Really my principal impres- 
sion was that of having all my boyish ideals on art smashed by him (a 
good riddance) and being horrified by his free thought and indepen- 
dence^ — of course later on I saw the truth of what he used to say — 
unfortunately I have hardly ever met him for the last twenty years, 
but I appreciate him now much more than I did when we were thrown 

I am very glad that the pension is granted to his widow. At 

your suggestion and Colvin's I wrote to Balfour who replied after 

he had read the book, saying that it was settled. He thought the 

book very interesting and seemed particularly pleased that "hating 

Burne Jones* work as he must have done" he had been so sparing of 

censure. I was afraid that the allusion to that school and to the 

attitude of the cultivated person towards art would have made him 

send the widow to Botany Bay. v . , 

J J Yours sincerely, 

John S. Sargent. 

It is evident that in his student days Sargent shared the ap- 
prehension excited in the studio by this brilliant free-spoken 
lover of the arts. To Duran, at any rate, it must have been a 
relief when Stevenson with "his gusts of talk and thunderclaps 
of contradiction'* passed out into the freer air of Barbizon and 
Grez. All the same, Stevenson's "Velasquez" was one of the 
few criticisms on painters for which Sargent had any liking. 
Indeed, Stevenson and Fromentin were the only two among 
deceased critics to whom I ever heard him refer. 

"En art tout ce qui n'est pas indispensable est nuisible" was 
one of the precepts which Duran had formulated after his study 
of Velasquez. It became one of the texts of his studio. " Mon 


but a ete toujours celui-la: exprimer le maximum au moyen du 
minimum" was the later variant of the same idea. "Cherchez 
la demi-teinte" he would add, "mettez quelques accents, et puis 
les lumieres." But above all, to his pupils his advice was "Velas- 
quez, Velasquez, Velasquez, etudiez sans relache Velasquez." 
He urged them to make copies of the pictures of Velasquez in 
the Louvre, not laborious copies, but copies "au premier coup." 
In painting a picture he would retreat a few steps from the canvas 
and then once more advance with his brush balanced in his hand 
as though it were a rapier and he were engaged in a bout with 
a fencing-master — these gestures were often accompanied by 
appeals to the shade of Velasquez. Those who watched Sargent 
painting in his studio will be reminded of his habit of stepping 
backwards after almost every stroke of the brush on the canvas, 
and the track of his paces so worn on the carpet that it suggested 
a sheep-run through the heather. He too, when in difficulties, 
had a sort of battle cry of "Daemons, daemons" with which he 
would dash at his canvas. 

It was, then, to such a workshop and under such a master that 
Sargent at the age of eighteen was admitted as a pupil, and the 
question arises, What did Sargent owe to the teaching of Duran ? 
The question is best answered by remembering Duran's precepts 
and seeing how far they are reflected in Sargent's art. It has 
already been shown how Duran insisted on the study of Velasquez 
and the omission in art of all that was not essential to the reali- 
zation of the central purpose of a painting. He had himself 
travelled far from the sharp contrast of values by which he had 
dramatized his picture L Assassin'e. He had got rid of his ten- 
dency to be spectacular. From Velasquez he had learnt to simplify. 
His teaching was focussed on the study of values and half-tones — 
above all, half-tones. Here lies, he would say, the secret of paint- 
ing, in the half-tone of each plane, in economizing the accents and 
in the handling of the lights so that they should play their part 
in the picture only with a palpable and necessary significance. 
Other things were subordinate. If Sargent excels in these re- 
spects, it is sufficient to recall the fact that they formed the 
core of Duran's instruction. There is no need to put his in- 


fluence higher. Few pupils in painting who have the talent to 
absorb their master's teaching fail in the long run to outgrow 
his influence and to progress beyond and outside it on lines of 
their own. 

Sargent himself always recognized his debt to the teaching 
of Duran. At the height of his fame, when looking at a portrait 
by a younger painter, he observed to Mr. William James: "That 
has value. I wonder who taught him to do that. I thought 
Carolus was the only man who taught that. He couldn't do it 
himself, but he could teach it." Again, when Mr. James asked 
him how to avoid false accents he said: "You must classify the 
values. If you begin with the middle-tone and work up from it 
towards the darks — so that you deal last with your highest lights 
and darkest darks — you avoid false accents. That's what Carolus 
taught me. And Franz Hals — it's hard to find anyone who knew 
more about oil-paint than Franz Hals — and that was his pro- 
cedure. Of course, a sketch is different. You don't mind false 
accents there. But once you have made them in something 
which you wish to carry jar •, in order to correct them you have to 
deal with both sides of them and get into a lot of trouble. So 
that's the best method for anything you wish to carry far in oil- 
paint." Mr. George Moore, in one of the most illuminating 
essays in "Modern Painting," said: "In 1830 values came upon 
France like a religion. Rembrandt was the new Messiah, Holland 
was the Holy Land, and disciples were busy dispensing the 
propaganda in every studio." The religion had no more ardent 
apostle than Carolus Duran. 

Chapter IV 

IF we attempt to define the artistic influences with which 
Sargent was in contact in Paris, we are confronted with the 
difficulty that in a summary it is necessary to make use of 
labels and employ hard-and-fast designations for tendencies 
which are in their nature elusive, and do not lend themselves 
to precise definition. It is a subject which only the expert can 
approach with confidence. But labels, if they lack the precise 
assistance offered by a signpost at cross-roads, serve to give a 
general idea of the nature of the country. They are useful as 
indications, and we need not press the question too far whether 
the work of any particular painter comes strictly under the label 
which is applied to him. This is more particularly the case 
where French art in the decade 1870-80 is concerned. That 
was a period of fluidity in artistic tendencies, and, if we take it 
in conjunction with the immediately succeeding years, a period 
in which the art critics burnt their fingers with a recklessness that 
has few parallels. Nor, if we remember the fate of the "refuses" 
in Paris and of Whistler in London can it be said that the Aca- 
demicians did much better or even as well. Whatever else may 
be said of the period, it can certainly be pointed to as a warning 
against dogmatism in art. 

Here, however, it is not a question of criticism or even of 
explanation, but of recalling the names of the artists then at 
work and the tendencies for which they stood. One distinctive 
school, with Theodore Rousseau (1812-67) as its foremost founder, 
had been at work since 1830 and was now drawing to its close. 
During the decade 1870-80, Millet (1875), Corot ( l8 75)> Diaz 
(1876), Daubigny (1878) died, the surviving leaders of the Bar- 
bizon school, of those "plein-air" painters, who influenced by 
Constable and Bonington had freed French landscape painting 



from its formality and its studio adjustments, and brought it 
into closer contact with the moods of nature and the changing 
aspects of earth and sky. Windows had been opened, air and 
light had entered in. Under the influence of these workers, 
set pieces, staged effects and classic ruins had given place to the 
notation of landscape seen with a more direct vision. For the 
first time the quality of impermanence in cloud or sun, stillness 
or storm, became part of the nature painter's subject. A moment 
before the scene had been different, a moment later it will have 
changed again. A new aspect of beauty had been transferred 
to canvas, together with a new vision and a new craft, and here, 
since such parallels recur and may be found also in the case of 
Sargent's art, it is worth pointing out that even such an indi- 
vidual school as the Barbizon painters had characteristics shared 
by the literature of the day. 

And it would be well to remember that the Barbizon school, 
though not ordinarily associated with the Romantic Movement, 
did not escape a certain infiltration of the Romantic spirit. As 
we look at their landscapes we are made aware of an ulterior 
significance, we become more and more conscious of a spiritual 
significance afloat in the representation of the scene. A wood- 
land scene by Diaz or Daubigny is invested with a peculiar mel- 
ancholy, a fete champetre would do violence to the spirit which 
haunts it, we feel that birds of no common plumage lodge in its 
branches, that here it is the horn of Roland rather than the 
woodman's axe that will be heard in the dells of the forest; 
again, in a painting by Millet the peasants tilling the fields seem 
not so much labourers toiling on the land as members of a re- 
ligious order fulfilling the dictates of a pious foundation; or 
again, the borders of a lake, the banks of a river by Corot in 
his later years being visions of a spiritual world unprofaned by 

Side by side with the Barbizon school there had grown up 
the school of the "Realists." The leader was Gustave Cour- 
bet (1819-77), a rich and vigorous personality, abounding in 
force and originality, well equipped to impose his views and 
head a revolution whether in the studio or behind a barricade. 


A man of the people, wearing wooden shoes, with the physique 
of a blacksmith and the profile of an Assyrian, deep and jovial 
in his laughter and a convinced republican, he was within an 
ace of being shot as an insurgent in 1848, and in 1871 was sen- 
tenced by court-martial to six months' imprisonment for his 
share in the destruction of the Column Vendome — though his 
action here was dictated by the desire to save the larger evil of 
the destruction of the Louvre. To make art a living force, "fit 
for democracy," and turn it from embellished renderings of 
classical subjects and the effete pageantry of bygone ages, was 
his declared purpose. His theme was the world as it is, without 
the gloss of ce ml ideal; rich, abundant, teeming with significance, 
to be rendered as a painter sees it, without the intrusion of 
drama, moral values or shadowy subjective associations. "Met- 
tez vous en face de la nature, et puis peignez comme vous sen- 
tirez, parbleu," was his advice to students. His own method of 
painting was to work on dark red or brown grounds, reserving 
the light to the last. It was never his scheme to begin with the 
middle tints and scale up to the high lights and down to the 
dark shadows, the method which was advocated and practised 
by Sargent. But it was only after years of toil that Courbet 
found favour with the critics, and was accepted by the public, 
though by that time he had formed a coterie of disciples. Of 
these the most eminent was Manet (1832-83). Edouard Manet 
was the pupil of Couture, a teacher who was the slave of rule 
and tradition, and devoted his talents to the production of ideal- 
ized renderings of classical and historical subjects, the "grand 
art," in fact, of the time. By 1863 Manet had broken away 
from Couture and his revolt marked the beginning of a new 
era in art. For it was in that year that the committee or jury 
of the Salon rejected with true academic instinct certain pictures 
considered revolutionary in their tendencies, raising thereby such 
a storm of protest among the younger artists that the Emperor 
was begged to intervene. He visited the Palais de l'lndustrie, 
and the committee proving obdurate he ordered that the re- 
jected canvases should be exhibited in a separate room divided 
by a partition from the Salon. 

Boston Art Museum. 


This was the origin of the famous Salon des Refuses. 
Here were shown works by Fantin Latour, Bracquemond, Jong- 
kind, Cazin, Chintreuil, Cals, Colin, Harpignies, Legros, Jean 
Paul Laurens, Camille Pissarro, while Whistler was represented 
by his Girl in White > rejected the previous year by the Royal 
Academy, and Manet by Le Dejeuner sur VHerbe, The exhibi- 
tion was derided by the critics. It was parodied at the Varietes 
as the "Club des Refuses" and known in the Boulevards as the 
"Exposition des Comiques." Le Dejeuner sur VHerbe (now in 
the Louvre) set Paris by the ears. It was attacked not only 
for the novelty of its technique but also, and here the public 
were able to join in, for its subject: two men in the bourgeois 
costume of the day picnicking under some trees with a nude 
woman as one of the party, while a second woman was seen 
bathing in the background. This was so violent a departure 
from the idealized assemblages engaged in a court function or 
illustrating an historical or classical episode, to which the walls 
of the Salon had grown accustomed, that protests poured in 
from all sides, and when Manet replied his subject was the same 
as Giorgione's, he was answered that he had failed to idealize 
his figures as Giorgione had done, and the distinction was good 
enough for a public deaf to reason. Had not Gustave Flaubert 
been prosecuted for the publication of "Madame Bovary" in 
1857? The die-hards of the Romantic Movement were still in 
possession. Manet became one of the most abused men in 
Paris; hardly a voice was heard in defence of his art; Gerome 
stigmatized his pictures as eoehonneries, and when LOlympia 
was exhibited in the Salon of 1865 the clamour burst out 
again. Zola, who praised Manet's work, was included in 
the demonstration of hostility. But Manet's faith in him- 
self remained unbroken, and with Le Bon Bock exhibited in 
1873 a change began; nobody spoke again of his pictures as 

Meanwhile the critics had found fresh game and were busy 
with a group of painters with whom Manet was beginning to 
be associated. The principal figures in this "revolutionary" 
group included Claude Monet, Pissarro, Sisley, Cezanne, Berthe 


Morisot, Degas, Renoir, and in a less degree Boudin* and 
Lepine. On April 15, 1874, under the title of "Societe 
anonyme des artistes, peintres, sculpteurs et graveurs," they 
opened an independent exhibition in the Boulevard des 
Capucines. Claude Monet showed a picture entitled Im- 
pression: Lever du Soleil. The word "Impression" was seized 
on by a writer in the Charivari, and henceforth Impressionism 
was looked upon as a convenient subject for ridicule. The 
Impressionists became a target for the critics, their work was 
described as "anarchist rubbish/' they were scoffed at for their 
theory and ridiculed for their technique. But jibes do not 
kill, they continued to exhibit their pictures. The battle was, 
therefore, raging in the seventies at the time when Sargent 
entered the studio of Carolus Duran. 

In this abbreviated record of the movements in painting 
during these years, no mention has been made of Ingres, who died 
in 1867. Mr. MacColl has described his work as "realism 
within Raphaelism, ,, and as a painter he stands somewhat outside 
the more obvious classifications. Though he was looked up to 
as one of the greatest of French artists, his immediate influence 
was merged and is not easily traced in subsequent movements. 
He was too remote from the current life of the day. Even 
Degas, whose aim it was at first to follow the direction given to 
painting by Ingres, is drawn early in his career to other sources 
of influence, notably to Manet and the Japanese. But no French 
artist was more or as much admired by Sargent. Two artists 
so dissimilar it would be difficult to name. On the one hand, 
Ingres, with serenity in his delineation of form, and with repose 
and beauty in his lines, but often nerveless and inept in his colour, 
and shunning the agitation and movement of light: on the other, 
Sargent, forcible in his execution, concerned with the play and 
reflection of light, and on the look-out for the intricate aspect 
of things; the exponent of an art that is alert, vibrating, and 
vital with colour and the spirit of life. But when the contrast 

* Of Boudin, Claude Monet has said: " Je peux dire que Boudin a ete mon Initiateur, 
qu'il m'a revele a moi-meme et ouvert la bonne voie. Et le premier pas quelle impor- 
tance !" See " Chez Claude Monet," Marc Elder, Bernheim-Jeune, 1924. 


is exhausted, there remain the draughtsmanship, the genius 
for composition and the fluent strength and elegance of line of 
the French master. It was these that Sargent was never tired 
of extolling. When in 19 14 he visited Paris with Professor 
Tonks to see the exhibition of the collected work of Ingres, he 
pointed to Jupiter Enthro?jed as the picture in which the highest 
gifts of the artist were most completely combined. 

From this brief survey it may be gathered that in Paris in 
1874 there were at least three schools of painting: the Inde- 
pendents, who included Impressionists or Luminists, towards 
whom the Realists were inclining; the Academicians; and lastly 
those who, like Carolus Duran, were dominated by the influence 
of Velasquez. The three schools, if schools they can be called, 
were divided by partitions of no great strength. That between 
the school of Duran and the Academicians permitted of con- 
siderable intercommunication; that between the school of 
Duran and the Independents was, it is true, more solid, but at 
the same time not so high as to make it impossible to look over 
at what was being done on the other side. Reflections from the 
Luminists diffused themselves across the barrier, but as the art 
of Sargent shows, they were allowed only a limited scope in their 
operation and kept in strict subjection. From letters he wrote 
it will be possible to gather his own view with regard to this very 

Chapter V 

THE echoes of Sargent's first years in Paris come to us 
faintly and the lights are fitful. At eighteen years of 
age he is still slight in build, a little shy and awkward in 
manner, reserved (as he remained throughout his life) in conver- 
sation, but charming, fresh, unsophisticated and even idealistic in 
his outlook on the world, engagingly modest and diffident, speak- 
ing perfect French, hardly aware yet of his gifts, and bound by 
a romantic devotion to his sister Emily and his parents. All 
testimony agrees. And so he crosses the threshold of his career. 
From the first he was a worker of astonishing capacity. He 
would breakfast every morning with his sister Emily at seven so 
as to arrive at the studio before eight, and on Mondays in order 
to secure a good place for the week he would start earlier. At 
five o'clock in the evening he would leave the studio and go to 
the Ecole des Beaux Arts, where he remained till seven. Dinner 
over, he would go to the studio of Bonn at and attend a class 
which lasted from eight to ten at night. On Sundays he worked 
at home, dining with his family and bringing fellow-students 
into the radius of that encouraging milieu. Among these were 
Caroll Beckwith, Frank Fowler, Russell, Edelfeldt the Finnish 
painter and Alden Weir. With all this he found time for music 
ar\d for reading. 

He was rarely to be seen except in the Latin Quarter. 
He was immersed in his work. Paul Helleu, then a fellow- 
student, remembers him as always dressed with distinctive care 
in a world which still affected the baggy corduroy trousers 
tight at the ankle, the slouch hats or tarn o'shanters, and the 
coloured sashes associated with the Latin Quarter. He was a 
striking figure as he strode down the Rue Bonaparte to the 
£cole des Beaux Arts, and already a little noted and recognized as 
one of the very few whose future could be looked on as definitely 



assured. The Latin Quarter at this time was the Latin Quarter 
of Murger's "Vie de Boheme" and Du Maimer's "Trilby." In 
the intervals of study it invited and even expected a somewhat 
excessive devotion to the lighter sides of Paris life. It was, in 
fact, the Latin Quarter of popular report. Sargent, according 
to all accounts, remained apart; not from any settled austerity 
of mind, but because he was absorbed in his work to a point of 
fanaticism. Never in the memory of the Latin Quarter had 
a harder worker been seen. He was too human to ignore and 
too ironic to condemn 'Texistence debraillee des rapins," but 
it formed no part of his own career. He simply had not the time 
to spare; when he had, he could enjoy it. In March, 1875, ne 
writes to Ben Castillo after a visit to Nice with Carolus Duran: 

52, Rue Abbatrice, 

A/r „ March 6th. 187c. 

My dear Ben, ' /J 

A cold perspiration bursts out all over me when I recollect that 

more than a month has elapsed since I received your kind letter; but 

I can give several reasons for not answering it sooner; fits of slight 

illness, hard work and the Concours, now nearly ended. 

We have had a few days of delightful sunny spring weather, which 
make my companions and me wild to go out into the country and 
sketch. On the night of Mi-Careme we cleared the studio of easels 
and canvasses, illuminated it with Venetian or coloured paper lanterns, 
hired a piano and had what is called " the devil of a spree." Danc- 
ing, toasts and songs lasted till 4, in short they say it was a very good 
example of a Quartier Latin ball. The whole quarter was out all 
night in the wildest festivity, quite surpassing anything I have ever 
seen in the Italian carnival. I enjoyed our spree enormously, I hope 
not too much; probably because it was such a new thing for me. 

I am anxious to hear news of you and to hear how you like 
Cambridge and the University life. 

We saw so much of other people in Nice that no time was left us 
for long talks together. Theodore senior is off to Algiers. My two 
friends left Nice unwell, and Carolus Duran took one of their vacant 
beds in my room. I came up to Paris with him three days later. I 
enjoyed Nice immensely. Now good-bye dear Ben. I hope to see 
you here in the spring. v ff 

John S. Sargent. 


In the summer of 1875, tne f^^nily gave up 52, Rue Abba- 
trice and moved to St. Enogat, near Dinard. Sargent remained 
in Paris and joined Caroll Beckwith, sharing a studio with him 
at 73b, Rue Notre Dame des Champs. In June he joined his 
parents at St. Enogat. The coast attracted him, and two years 
later he returned to the neighbourhood and painted one of 
his earliest Salon pictures, En Route pour la Peche. He was 
charmed by the house his parents had taken and wrote to Ben 

Maison Lefort, 

St. Enogat pr£s Dinard, 

Ile et Vilaine, 

t. „ June lothy 187c. 

Dear Ben, j 9 /D 

I am really ashamed at having left your letter so long unanswer- 
ed; as long as we were in Paris it was very difficult to find the time, but 
since our arrival here I confess there was leisure enough as the weather 
has been unfavourable for sketching. I wish you believed in the maxim 
"Whatever is, is right !" If I did I would thrust it at you. 

How glad you must be to be with your Mother again after all your 
hard work. I congratulate you sincerely for passing your examina- 
tions successfully. Mr. del Castillo said that you would pay a visit to 
Lue again this summer but I fear it is too great a distance for us to 
hope to see you here. 

We enjoy our little country house very much with its pleasant 
gardens and thoroughly rural entourage. I have reason to be contented 
and thankful for my quarters are charming. My bedroom is the most 
beautiful interior I have ever seen in anything short of a palace or a 
castle. It is furnished throughout in the mediaeval style. Its beamed 
ceiling and floor are of oak, its walls completely hung with stamped 
leathers and arras; the furniture is all antique and richly carved, 
especially the grand bedstead with canopy and bed posts, the immense 
wardrobe, and ebony cabinet. Then there is a great tapestried chimney 
piece, plenty of oil portraits, a few small choice casts such as a head of 
Goethe and a beautiful reduction of the Moses of Michel Angelo. This 
enumeration ends with the most charming detail of all; the windows. 
They are of lattice, that is to say, of small lozenges of glass, joined 
together by bands of lead, and from them you look right over and into 
the fig tree with its great shining green leaves and ripening fruit, then 
over the pear trees and cherry trees and flowers of the garden, to the 
wide cornfields, and over them to the sea. 



There is much to paint, but it has poured ever since we have been 
here, so I have accomplished little as yet. Once more congratulating 
you on your brilliant success. 

I remain, 

Your very affectionate old friend, 

John S. Sargent. 

The spontaneity of his work at this time is striking. There 
is no sign of effort; it is perhaps immature, but the painting is 
easy as a signature and stamped with an individual character to 
be developed as time went on, but never to be radically altered. 
Impulse, execution, vision, indications of method, and immense 
facility are already there. 

There is a notable sketch in oils of about this time.* It is 
signed, and it bears two dates, 1873 anc ^ T ^74- ^ was signed and 
dated by Sargent as recently as 1923. If it is 1874 ** was probably 
painted at Benzeval — the foliage is northern, the scene obviously 
French. The study is remarkable for its dexterity: an empty 
table covered with a white cloth stands in the trellised arbour 
of an estaminet garden; the sunlight makes a pattern through 
the trellis, and falls sharp and bright on the tablecloth; beyond 
are shrubs, silvery in the sunshine; and an enclosing wall shuts 
out the distance. Two glasses filled with red vin du pays stand 
on a metal tray on a side table and reflect the light. The scene 
is entirely commonplace; yet though uneventful it has all the 
quality of an episode. It shows a markedly French influence 
both in subject and treatment: a featureless bosquet of a lowly 
inn seen in vivid sunshine, the shadows light in tone, the foliage 
quivering in the glare, the commonplace suddenly invested with 
interest by art. 

In 1875 Sargent painted the portrait of Benjamin P. Kissam 
in Paris. In May, 1876, he sailed with Mrs. Sargent and Miss 
Emily Sargent for America. It was his first contact with the 
United States. There is no hint of the impression he received, 
yet the situation was in some ways singular. He was an American 
by parentage, born and educated in the Old World, steeped in the 
culture of Europe, and now, at the age of twenty for the first time, 

* Now in the possession of Sir Philip Sassoon. 


he was introduced to his native country. The contrast in many 
ways must have been sharper than it would be to-day. The 
great American collector had hardly got to work, the piecemeal 
transfer across the Atlantic of European collections of art had 
hardly begun. It was only by visiting Europe that a citizen of 
the United States could obtain any idea of the history of painting; 
naturally the studios of Paris were crowded with Americans. 
Painting in America was seeking a definite lead, feeling its way, 
and waiting for that directing impulse which was to come to it 
from Paris. An American citizen coming to the United States 
with an artistic training must have noticed symptoms of its 
civilization which were profoundly interesting; at the same time 
he was bound to be aware of activities lacking the graces of 
the Old World. American citizenship had from early days in- 
fluenced Sargent's outlook on the world. Now for the first time 
he was among his countrymen: the occasion struck an answering 
chord in his disposition. Henceforward, wherever his residence 
and whatever the conditions of his calling, it was to America that 
he felt bound, not only by the ties of race, but by fellow-feeling. 

Chapter VI 

IF a choice of all the wonders of the "Arabian Nights" had 
been offered the Sargent family, assuredly they would have 
chosen the " Enchanted Horse." Even in America, where it 
might have been expected that anchorages would be found, they 
continued to move, ignoring distances and never omitting to see 
anything that had the least claim to interest. Altogether they 
were four months in America, and in that period they managed 
to see Philadelphia, which included several short visits at country 
houses belonging to relatives, Newport, Chicago, Saratoga, 
Niagara, Lake George, Quebec and Montreal, ending up with 
Washington and New York. It was the year of the Exhibition at 
Philadelphia, which coinciding with the speeding up of large 
fortunes did a great deal to start the fashion of collecting famous 
works of art. Sargent was entirely taken up with the examples of 
Japanese and Chinese art. It was just the moment when in 
Europe, and more especially in France, Oriental painting was 
influencing the modern school of artists. The Paris Exhibition 
of 1867 had given an impetus to the enthusiasm for Japanese 
technique. Everywhere collectors were hunting for the works 
of Hokusai, Outamaro and Harunobu. In the studios, Japanese 
artists were taken as models of reticence and economy in the 
statement of a fact, and as creating spatial atmosphere by means 
of a few lines. By the time Sargent was at work in Duran's 
studio the impulse from Japan had already passed into French 
painting, and its message had been extracted and absorbed. At 
the Philadelphia Exhibition he had before his eyes a further 
proof of what might be learnt from the East. 

During his visit to America he seems to have done little paint- 
ing. A water-colour Below Niagara, a sketch of Admiral Case's 
daughter and a portrait of his father's sister, Mrs. Emily Sargent 
Pleasants, a reproduction of which is given opposite p. 44 are 



among the few works which can with any certainty be attrib- 
uted to this period. On the journey back across the Atlantic, 
during a storm in which their vessel the Algeria was caught, 
he did a study of waves. This is one of the few occasions on 
which he took the sea as a subject for a picture, often though 
he painted water in fountains or lakes or canals. Yet with the 
exception of Turner it would be difficult to name any painter 
who has rendered so convincingly the restlessness and weight and 
iridescence of moving waters or made them such a prominent 
feature in their work. In his study of the Atlantic, the force 
and volume of the waves, the desolate iteration of crest and 
trough, and the dark anger of the storm are dramatically con- 
trasted with the thin white track made on the waste of waters 
by the vessel and the frail platform from which the sketch is taken. 
The eye is carried over the welter of waves to the horizon. It 
is a picture with distance, a thing comparatively rare in Sargent's 

The beauty he sought lay in the relation of light to clearly 
discerned objects, to things near by and of ascertainable texture 
and form. It is exceptional to find in his pictures that lyrical 
quality which from Turner to Wilson Steer has been associated 
with distance in landscape. Dramatic oppositions in light and 
colour are to be seen in their strength at a short range of vision, 
and it is such oppositions that appealed to Sargent. If horizon 
lines had in them a note of monotony and panoramas an element 
of vagueness, there was the further consideration that the vague- 
ness of distant panoramas involves subdued tones, and that fact 
may have made him reluctant to treat such subjects. Training 
and temperament may have disposed him to a preference for 
what was strong in tone. By temperament he was buoyant, 
active and alert, dreaming no dreams, little given to contempla- 
tive moods, and when once his genius had matured he inclined 
definitely to what was clear and affirmative, pronounced and 
explicit. That mood of pensiveness which is suggested by far- 
flung horizons, distant hills and remoteness in space was foreign 
to his nature. 

Commending some amateur work in which he had found more 


merit than he expected, he once said: "He does what is in front 
of him, he doesn't shirk the difficulties and like most amateurs 
go wandering into distances." * It would not be true to say that 
Sargent never "wandered into distances," but certainly his 
preferences lay in other directions. 

But the reasons which we may find to explain any special 
characteristic in Sargent's landscapes are of little moment; the 
important fact is that he has left behind him a series of water- 
colours that for volume, variety and beauty is not easily matched. 

In October, 1876, the family were back in Paris. That au- 
tumn Sargent painted Gitana and Rehearsal at Cirque d'Hiver. 
The following year he sent his first picture to the Salon, a 
portrait of Miss Watts. It was well received by the critics. 
Henry Houssaye described it in La Revue des Deux Monde s as 
"Un charmant portrait de jeune miss par M. Sargent, d'une claire 
harmonie, et duquel on ne peut reprocher que des mains fuselees." 

He was very little in Paris during the summer of 1877. He 
was for two months at Cancale with Eugene La Chaise, then after 
picking up Caroll Beckwith in Paris they all three stayed at the 
Sorchans' country house near Lyons. In August Sargent joined 
his family at Bex, in Switzerland. Wherever he was, he painted; 
his output was continuous. 

His painting is acquiring distinctive character. It diverges 
from the work of Duran and Bonnat, and carries that work into 
a different order of vision and execution. Form is involved with 
light, facts are curtailed, structure and action are indicated 
rather than stated, the atmosphere is clear and the shadows 
luminous, even the darkest passages carrying reflection. To 
borrow the terms of literature, the effect is produced without 
rhetoric, without one inessential adjective; the language is 
nervous and exact, with the rhythm and cadence of the finest 
prose. His work is allied definitely and from the first to the 
Realists, but his realism is lifted and illuminated by the mystery 
and variety of shadow and light. In the early landscapes a 
silvery and delicate quality is noticeable, which later was to give 
place to more robust colouring in his rendering of scenery — a 

* The amateur was Mr. Winston Churchill. 



change which accompanied his gradual reversion to a preference 
for Southern landscape with that emphasis and exultant assertion 
of light characteristic of the South. 

In 1878 there was exhibited at the Salon a ceiling painted 
for the Louvre* by Carolus Duran which contained a head of 
Sargent by Duran and a head of Duran by Sargent. Duran 
approved so highly of Sargent's share in the work that he con- 
sented to sit for the portrait which was hung in the Salon of 1879. 

It had an immediate success and it was widely reproduced, 
even figuring on the cover of U Illustration. But the process of 
being outrun by the disciple is never agreeable to the master. 
The legend goes that Duran felt acutely his pupil's progress, 
that he, later on, invaded the Louvre with ladder and palette 
and removed Sargent's head from the ceiling. The legend may 
be dismissed. The head still occupies its place in the design, 
but the jealousy with which Duran watched his pupil's triumphs 
is notorious. The contrast with his own bitter struggles was in 
itself a source of provocation. 

Sargent's handiwork appears in another French picture 
painted in the year 1880. Georges Becker (1 846-1909), the 
French painter, was commissioned by M. de Freycinet's Govern- 
ment to paint a picture of the review at Longchamps, held on 
July 14. Becker invited Sargent to assist him, and the two 
painters worked together in a tent on the field of the review, 
with sentries to restrain the curiosity of a prying crowd. This 
picture I have been unable to trace. 

Sargent's fellow-students at this time included Walter Gay, 
Templeman Coolidge, Ralph Curtis, Charles Forbes, Robert 
Hinckley, Stephen H. Parker, Elliot Gregory, Chadwick and Har- 
per Pennington, all American by birth. Mr. Albert Bellerochef 
was also a student at the time. Among his French colleagues 
were Lobre and the portrait painter Helleu, his lifelong friend. 

* Now to be seen in Room XIX. 

f Mr. Belleroche wrote an account of Sargent's lithographs in The Print Collectors' 
Quarterly, February, 1926. Only six lithographs by Sargent are known to exist. Proofs 
of these are in the British Museum: (1) "Study of a Young Man" (seated), (2) "Study 
of a Young Man" (drawing), (3) "William Rothenstein," (4) "Albert Belleroche," (5) 
"Albert Belleroche" (head only), (6) "Head of a Young Woman." 



When the two first met Sargent was twenty-two and Helleu 
eighteen. He astonished Helleu with his knowledge of French 
literature and his command of the French language; his conver- 
sation, in fact, was indistinguishable from that of a cultured 
Frenchman. Helleu at the time was a struggling student, and 
often unable to pay for a meal. Sargent seems to have suspected 
this to be the case. One day he climbed up to Helleu's small 
studio in the Rue de la Grande Chaumiere, at a moment when 
Helleu was in the depths of despair about his work and his 
prospects. The pastel which he had just finished had set the 
final seal to his discouragement, and it was resting on the floor 
when Sargent, the successful young painter, opened the door. 
There was at once a new atmosphere. There was a magnetic 
quality of encouragement in his mere presence. "That is a nice 
thing," he said in a thoughtful way, pointing to the pastel, 
"Charming, charming. The best thing you've ever done, mon 
petit Helleu." Helleu protested: "Oh, no, I was just thinking 
what a horror; I'd just torn it off the easel when you came in." 

"Because youVe been looking at it too long, youVe lost your 
eye. No one ever paints what they want to paint, but to me 
who can only see what youVe done, not what you're aiming at, 
this is a charming thing I must have for my collection." 

Helleu was enchanted — he would be proud if Sargent would 
accept it. 

" I shall accept gladly, Helleu, but not as a gift. I sell my own 
pictures, and know what they cost me by the time they're out of 
hand. I should never enjoy this pastel if I hadn't paid you a fair 
and honest price for it." Thereupon he drew out a note for one 
thousand francs. Helleu, who had never even seen a thousand- 
franc note, felt as if the heavens had opened. Thousand-franc 
notes were not so often handled in those days. Later it dawned 
on him that the note must have been brought for the special 
purpose. It was the turning-point in his career. Sargent had 
set him on his feet. Helleu says he constantly helped his less 
fortunate competitors. He was equally generous with money, 
though it expressed itself in action shyly and by stealth, with en- 
couragement and advice, or in improving the work of others with 

4 6 


his own pencil or brush. His success stirred no envy, fortune 
seemed to have chosen him for her own, his days were cloudless, 
and his friends numerous and faithful. 

At this time Helleu was conspicuous among his friends. The 
two were often seen breakfasting together at the restaurant 
Livenne, sharing a table with Rodin and Paul Bourget — Rodin, 
a raw vigorous youth of no general culture, uttering occasionally 
winged reflections on art; Bourget lively, eager, ranging over and 
illuminating every topic, his speech shimmering with grace and 
wit and directing his conversation chiefly to Sargent; Sargent 
himself, vigorous, robust, full of humour and of theories minted 
in the practice of his art, his ideas quickened by culture and 
success, warmed the company with his laughter, which was 
sometimes ironic and sometimes sprang from the depths of his 
nature. Sargent was a good eater and lived on a generous scale; 
but he could accept rough and scanty fare and discomfort when in 
pursuit of his calling, and for days on end he lived in a shed among 
the Carrara Mountains, travelling to his work in a basket slung on 
ropes across a wide ravine, and subsisting on the food of the 
workers. Cold, heat, mosquitoes, inadequate rations affected 
him no more than they would the hardiest big-game hunter in 
Africa, or the most thick-skinned salmon-fisher in Norway. 
Painting was more than an art to Sargent, it held the exhilaration 
of a sport as well; his quarry was a suitable subject, his trophy 
the creation of a thing of beauty. 

Chapter VII 

SARGENT'S picture En Route pour la Peche in the 
Salon of 1878, received "honourable mention." It was 
his second exhibited work. His age was twenty-two. 
In the autumn of 1878 he spent several weeks at Capri. 
From there he wrote to Ben Castillo: 

Capri (paper), 
~ „ Aug. \oth> 1878 (date added by Ben). 

By this time I fancy the Latin Quarter is deserted of all our 
mutual friends and that you are rarely to be seen within its bounds. 
The week contains no more Friday afternoon. 

I got a letter from Beckwith the other day which informed me of 
the movements of the different fellows. Why didn't you join them in 
their walking tour ? By the way I never saw the joke at all myself, 
but the question comes natural to me just now as I am inclined to think 
that companionship a great object. If it were not for one German 
staying at the Marina, I should be absolutely without society and he is 
in love and cannot talk about anything but his sweetheart's moral 
irreproachability. We are going over to Sorrento in a day or two to 
visit her, and I have agreed to keep her husband's interest rivetted to 
Vesuvius, Baiae, Pozzuoli and other places along the distant opposite 

Naples is simply superb and I spent a delightful week there. Of 
course it was very hot, and one generally feels used up. It is a fact 
that in Naples they eke out their wine with spirits and drugs, so that 
a glass of wine and water at a meal will make a man feel drunk. I had 
to take bad beer in order not to feel good-for-nothing. I could not 
sleep at night. In the afternoon I would smoke a cigarette in an arm- 
chair or on my bed and at five o'clock wake up suddenly from a deep 
sleep of several hours. Then lie awake all night and quarrel with 
mosquitoes, fleas and all imaginable beasts. I am frightfully bitten 
from head to foot. Otherwise Italy is all that one can dream for 
beauty and charm. 

It is however true that the " Vandalia " is at Naples. Cap. Robson 
was very polite and asked me to lunch on board on Tuesday, but at lunch 



time I was sailing past the Vandalia's bows in the Capri market boat, 
packed in with a lot of vegetables and fruit. There is a steamer from 
Naples and Capri, but it has no particular day for going, so that if one 
comes to the quai of Sta. Lucia every morning as I did with one's 
luggage, one is sure of getting off in less than a week. 

I am painting away very hard and shall be here a long time. So if 
you write soon, as I should like, address Capri otherwise P.R. Naples. 
With love to Mrs. Castillo and Wm. Durel. 

Your affect, old friend, 

John S. Sargent. 

There were living on the island, besides the enamoured 
German, several French and three English artists, one of whom 
— Mr. Frank Hyde — had a studio in the old monastery of Santa 
Teresa. Mr. Hyde had never met Sargent and had never seen 
his work, but hearing that an American artist had arrived and was 
staying at one of the inns, he called and found him with no 
place to work in, but perfectly content and revelling in the beauty 
of the island. Mr. Hyde invited him to come and work at the 
monastery. There he provided him with a famous model called 
Rosina, "an Ana Capri girl, a magnificent type, about seventeen 
years of age, her complexion a rich nut-brown, with a mass of 
blue-black hair, very beautiful, and of an Arab type." Sargent 
made many studies from her, one of which, the property of 
Miss Sargent, was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1926, and 
will be found reproduced opposite. During the remainder of 
his stay he resided at the Marina Hotel; here he imported a 
breath of the Latin Quarter, entertaining the artists on the 
island and organizing a fete in which the tarantella was danced 
on the flat roof of his hotel, to an orchestra of tambourines and 
guitars. But no entertainment in the Latin Quarter could 
compete with the figures of the dancers silhouetted against the 
violet darkness of the night under the broad illumination of 
the moon, the surrounding silence, the faint winds from the sea, 
and a supper when the stars are giving place before the first 
orange splash of day. Bonnet, Sain, Doucet, Chatrau, Frank 
Hyde and others were the guests of Sargent on that occasion. 

In 1879 aC exhibited Dans les Olivier s Capri and Portrait 



de Carolus Duran. Dans les Oliviers was the replica of a picture 
he had already sold and sent to New York. The portrait of 
Duran is influenced more than most of his early pictures bv 
the manner of Duran himself. Brown predominates, the tones 
are rather sharply contrasted, the treatment has less distinction 
than usual, is even not without a commonplace element; the 
guitarist, the dandy with elegant cuffs of ruffled lawn, the 
riding school and the fencing class, seem to be summarized in 
the rather florid and obvious model. It is the portrait of an 
eminently successful man, pleased with himself and perhaps not 
unaware that in posing to a pupil he was paying him a singular 
and liberal compliment. The picture seems to anticipate the 
comment made by Duran when someone congratulated him on 
his pupil's success: "Oui mais Papa etait la!" Though the 
portrait received no mark of Academic approval it was a popular 
picture and did a great deal to consolidate the painter's reputation 
in Paris. In 1879 ne painted also Luxembourg Gardens at 
Twilight, Portrait of Robert de Civrieux with Dog and In the 
Luxembourg Gardens, 

In the autumn he paid his second visit to Spain, in the 
company of two French painters, MM. Daux and Bac. The 
party rode through the Ronda Mountains to Gibraltar. Here, 
in addition to painting, he made researches into Spanish music 
and folk-songs, subjects in which he and Vernon Lee were alike 
interested. On his return to Paris he wrote to her: 

You wished some Spanish songs. I could not find any good ones. 
The best are what one hears in Andalusia, the half African Mela- 
guemas and Soleas, dismal, restless chants that it is impossible to note. 
They are something between a Hungarian czardas and the chant of 
the Italian peasant in the fields and are generally composed of five 
strophes and end stormily on the dominant, the theme quite lost in 
strange fioriture and guttural roulades. The gitano voices are marvel- 
lously subtle. If you have heard something of the kind you will not 
consider this mere jargon. 

At his studio in Tite Street he used in later years to entertain 
himself and on occasions try to entertain his guests, or beguile the 


tedium of a sitting, with a gramophone and records of Spanish 
music. "That stuff," speaking of Spanish folk-songs, he said,* 
"is at the bottom of all good music." It may indeed be of in- 
terest to some to know the four pieces which he preferred, even 
sending for them from Boston in 191 6, so that Mrs. Gardner 
might have the benefit of them. They were: 

Malaguemas Fandangerillo Catalan por Juan Breda. 
Malaguemas estito Juan de Mellizo por Juan Breda. 
Farrucae, cantada por la Nina de los Peinas por Juan Breda. 
Guillans cantados por Pavon. 

In January, 1880, he paid his first visit to Morocco. From 
Tetuan he wrote to Ben Castillo: 

Hotel Central, 


Jan, tfh, 1880. 

Unchanging friend and dauntless correspondent it is very credita- 
ble of you to have written to me after such a long hiatus. But instead 
of cursing so malignantly why don't you guess that I have been doing 
so much jogtrotting on atrocious horses and mules that I can't sit down 
to write, and that the temperature in these tropical regions is such that 
one's fingers refuse to hold the pen. This is an exaggeration. 

The other day on a ride from Ceuta to Tetuan we essayed a most 
tremendous storm of hail and rain that made us shiver and set our half 
naked Arabs shaking in the most alarming way, but now the weather 
is beautiful and the temperature just what it ought to be. We have 
rented a little Moorish house (which we don't yet know from any other 
house in the town, the little white tortuous streets are so exactly alike) 
and we expect to enjoy a month or two in it very much. The patio 
open to the sky affords a studio light, and has the horseshoe arches 
arabesques, tiles and other traditional Moorish ornaments. The roof 
is a white terrace, one of the thousand that form this odd town, sloping 
down to the sea. All that has been written and painted about 
these African towns does not exaggerate the interest of at any rate, a 
first visit. Of course the poetic strain that writers launch forth in 
when they touch upon a certain degree of latitude and longitude — is 
to a great extent conventional; but certainly the aspect of the place 
is striking, the costume grand and the Arabs often magnificent. 

* H. F. Stewart, " Memoirs of Francis Jenkinson," p. 80. 


I regret the many months spent in Spain in the rain and had 
weather that quite spoiled the trip as far as painting and enjoyment 
goes. When you carry out your plan of a visit to Spain, he sure to go 
in the spring; one loses too much by going there in December. 

Best love to your people, 

Your affectionate friend, 

John S. Sargent. 

This expedition to Spain and Morocco resulted in several 
of his well-known works —among them Fumee cT Ambre Gris, 
The Alhambra, The Court of the Lions, Spanish Beggar Girl, 
Spanish Courtyard, El Jaleo and the Spanish Dance, which, 
like so much of his early work, are now only to be seen in 

El Jaleo was subsequently bought by Mr. T. Jefferson Coo- 
lidge, who told Mrs. Gardner that the picture should one day 
be hers. She had seen the picture at exhibitions, and satisfied 
herself that it would be shown to best advantage with the light 
coming from below. Anticipating the day when the picture 
would be hers, she built an alcove in her music-room at Fenway 
Court, framed in a Moorish arch, and along the floor arranged 
a row of electric lights which would reproduce, as far as possible, 
the conditions under which the picture had originally been 
painted. Mr. Coolidge, when he saw these preparations, accel- 
erated his generous intentions and handed the picture over to 
be installed in this flattering environment. 

Sargent was back in Paris in time to start with Helleu and 
Ralph Curtis for a tour in Holland, and to return before the 
opening of the Salon. It was his first opportunity of studying 
Franz Hals in his native country and in the fulness of his power. 
The impression was never forgotten. Indeed, Hals henceforward 
has to be reckoned as one of the formative constituents in his art. 
Many years later, to Miss Heyneman who was seeking advice 
from him, he said: "Begin with Franz Hals, copy and study 
Franz Hals, after that go to Madrid and copy Velasquez, leave 
Velasquez till you have got all you can out of Franz Hals." 

Though preferences necessarily change in kind and degree 
and too much importance should not be attached to an artist's 


obiter dicta, it is of more than passing interest to note that once 
when discussing genius in painting he said that the four paint- 
ers who in his opinion possessed it in a superlative degree were 
Rembrandt, Titian, Tintoretto and Raphael, and upon Velas- 
quez being suggested, added that no painter exceeded Velasquez 
in technical skill, but that he was less gifted in his power to 
interpret "spiritual qualities." 

While in Holland the party visited Scheveningen, and here 
Sargent did a sketch in oils of his friend Ralph Curtis, seated 
among the sand dunes. It is painted in a low key, soft in tone 
and delicate in colour, done obviously "au premier coup," and 
shows unmistakably that he was in these years inclining to the 
modern French school of painting. 

In the same year, 1880, he exhibited at the Salon a portrait 
of Mme. E. Pailleron, the wife of the French author M. Edouard 
Pailleron and daughter of M. Buloz, then director of La Revue 
des Deux Monde s> also Fumee d'Ambre Gris y a study for which 
was shown at the Exhibition at the Royal Academy in January, 

Chapter VIII 

IN the late summer of 1880 Sargent went with his family 
to Venice to the Hotel d'ltalie, Piazza San Moise. After 
a few days he found a studio at the Palazzo Rezzonico, 
Grand Canal, in which several American and French artists 
were already installed. The Palazzo had become a sort of 
barrack for artists, with some of the amenities of a palace and 
the gaiety of the Latin Quarter. Here he worked during the 
remainder of his stay. 

Tiepolo, whom he considered as the first of decorative artists, 
and Tintoretto were the painters whose works claimed his 
attention at this time. He was soon a well-known figure in 
Venice; daily he could be seen in a gondola, sketching with his 
sister Emily, herself an accomplished water-colourist, in one of 
the side canals, painting some architectural feature in the full 
glory of sun and shadow, or seated with his easel on one of the 
lesser piazzas making a study of a church facade, doorway, window, 
or of any one of the thousand effects which Venice offers in 
unique abundance. His art is seldom concerned with the actual 
life of the place, its people, its ceremonies or customs; what he 
sees is the Venice fashioned magically in stone, the glint on its 
waters, the reflections on its walls, its gondolas, the spars and 
sails of its shipping thrown against the background of a church, 
or its dazzling sky mirrored on the dancing facets of an agitated 
canal. He paints here, there and everywhere with a deliberate 
nonchalance in the choice of his topics, taking things as they come; 
discovering things as it were by accident, but seeing them with 
an intensely personal outlook, more nearly concerned, in fact, with 
how he sees and how he paints than with the associations of what 
he sees. In Spain he had been caught by the "spirit of place" and 
he had seemed for the time to enter into and become part of what 
was in its essence racial and bone of its bone. Spanish dancing 



had appealed to his love of the natural — to his pleasure in some- 
thing at once vivid, elementary and pictorial. The subject it- 
self had excited him with its grace and wildness, its colour and 
its attitudes. He had mixed with the people, not as a student 
observer, but on a basis of equality, catching the spirit and 
human significance of what he saw. But here in Venice it is as 
though he were setting out on the course he was to follow through 
his career; he is no longer interested in the people and their 
mode of life, his visual attention is absorbed by the surroundings 
in which they are merely negligible incidents. Henceforward 
it becomes more and more rare to find among his sketches any 
record of episodes characteristic of a people or a race or of the 
commerce of their daily lives; the vox populi seems to fall on 
deaf ears. But meanwhile he is shaping his own convention. 
He has his own individual way of looking at the world, and he 
is slave to no tradition. Problems of light and shadow were 
exercising the painters of the day in Paris, and in these he was 
experimenting, feeling his way to the solution which he ulti- 
mately evolved. 

He stayed on in Venice through the late autumn, moving, 
when his family left, to 290, Piazza San Marco, All' Orologio, 
but retaining his studio at the Rezzonico. He exhibited at the 
Salon of 1 88 1 four portraits — namely, Portrait de M. R. S. and 
Portraits de M. E. P., and the portrait of Miss Burckhardt 
catalogued as Mile. L. P., and also known as The Lady with 
a Rose, of which Henry James wrote: "It offers the slightly 
uncanny spectacle of a talent which on the very threshold of its 
career has nothing more to learn. . . . The picture has this sign 
of productions of the first order, that its style would clearly save 
it, if everything else should change — our measure of value of its 
resemblance, its expression of character, the fashion of dress, the 
particular associations it evokes." Few of Sargent's portraits 
have so summarized the spirit of youth; none, perhaps, has 
rendered so exquisitely its unfolding fancies and aspirations and 
its inexperience. Here is a picture in which temperament has 
played a part; it is something more than the intellectual con- 
ception of a great painter. The delicate modelling of the head, 


the freshness of the colouring, the half-tones of the flesh, the 
ease which the artist has imported into a pose which leans to 
the artificial, and the mastery shown in the painting of the 
dress, mark it out as one of his most distinctive achievements. 
It invites comparison with Duran's Lady with the Glove, and 
measures how far the pupil had advanced beyond the highest 
effort of his master. 

In June, 1881, Sargent was writing from Paris to Castillo in 
a spirit of youthful elation: 

Just a few frantic arabesques to acknowledge the receipt of your 
pleasant letters and communicate my plans. In the first place I have 
got a 2 ieme medaille at the Salon and am hors concours and a great 
swell. I accept your congratulations. It is for that portrait of a 
Chilian lady (Mme. R. S.) that I was painting last summer Avenue du 
Bois de Boulogne. 

Later he was in London staying with Mr. Joseph Farquharson, 
R.A., in Porchester Gardens, "to paint two heads" and see his 
parents and sisters off to America. Back again at 73, Rue Notre 
Dame des Champs, he reports that he is "painting portraits and 
getting along very well with the Spanish dancers" {El Jaleo) 
the picture which was to be famous in the Salon of 1882, and for 
which he had made several studies when in Spain. 

That summer he sent some sketches to Vernon Lee. They 
had arrived in some disorder. 

As for the sketches (he wrote on receiving her acknowledgement) 
having arrived "en compote" I should think they could easily be cured 
by Heath Wilson, if he will take the trouble. I am convinced that the 
likeness of Miss Robinson is horrid and that she hates me and will never 
allow me to make amends. It is really hideous. Let Heath Wilson 
retouch it with a hot poker, and put an umbrella into it and open the 
umbrella. Your portrait might be varnished with light varnish. 
Verni Sochnee for instance. Don't let D or any of his boys varnish it: 
they have some wondrous prescription for making a picture blaze 
under a thick coat of enamel like a panel of a new carriage; "au surplus 
charmants garcons." 

The letter which follows was written after reading Vernon 
Lee's volume of essays "Belcaro." In the essay "In Umbria" 


she had discussed the relation of an artist to his work. "Can 
a pure and exquisite work be produced by a base nature ? " was 
the question she propounded. Her answer had been very 
decidedly in the affirmative. She had attacked the doctrine of 
Ruskin and contended that artistic talent achieved its end 
independently of creed or sentiment — a theme which she had 
illustrated by the case of Perugino, the professional purveyor of 
religious art, whose pictures had been dictated by a purely com- 
mercial instinct and bore no relation to his inner beliefs. 

,, , 7 March lAth, 1882. 

My dear Violet, t 

I have put off writing to you till I had read your book (Belcaro), 

and lately I have had very little time. I am quite delighted with it 

and I think it is a book that will do a great deal of good, and I hope it 

is very much read, for your view of art is the only true one. Of course 

your book is addressed to a public entirely different from me, for 

instance. To me the conclusions you come to, or the feeling you start 

from, are altogether natural and self evident, and need no debating; 

and the chief interest of the book to me is to know that you possess the 

right idea. The arguments you used and the process of convincing I 

watch as an outsider, not having any doubts myself. I think your 

theory of the all-importance of beauty and its independence of or 

its hostility to sentiment applies admirably to the antique, and to the 

short great period of art in Italy. It is certain that at certain times 

talent entirely overcomes thought or poetry. In decadence, this 

occurred to an outrageous extent. It is another question and I 

suppose a matter of personal feeling whether that state of things is 

more interesting than another; Whether Raphael in his cartoons at 

Hampton Court is more admirable than in the Sposalizio, or whether 

he is more admirable at all than Botticelli. There are some like Diirer 

and Rembrandt and the French Millet who are very "inquietants" 

for one who thinks as you do, for their talent is enormous too and 

they have "intimite." Perhaps we will have a chance to skirmish 

together, for I think very likely I will go to Florence this summer. 

With love to all your circle, 

Your old friend, 

John S. Sargent. 

His two pictures in the Salon of 1882 were singled out by the 
critics for unqualified praise. "Before the portrait" {Mrs. 



Austin), Jules Comte wrote, "one does not know which to admire 
most, the simplicity of the means which the artist has employed 
or the brilliance of the result which he has achieved." Henry 
Houssaye declared that El Jaleo was the most striking picture 
of the year. Thus at the age of twenty-six Sargent, an American, 
was being hailed in Paris as the author of the two outstanding 
pictures of the Salon. If it be true that art knows no nationality 
(did not Whistler say that you might as well talk of English 
mathematics as of English art ?), the same might have been said, 
at any rate in 1882, of criticism, for here was a foreign artist, 
little more than of age, measuring himself beside the established 
favourites of Paris, beside Duran and Bonnat, Bougereau and 
Dagnan Bouveret, Bastien Lepage, Besnard, Boldini and the 
Impressionists, and being acclaimed as the most successful painter 
of the year. He was soon receiving as many commissions as he 
could execute, charging for a full length eight thousand francs, 
for a half length five thousand, and for his subject pictures and 
landscapes anything from two to four thousand. 

In the late summer of 1882 he was again in Italy, staying in 
Venice with the Curtises, the parents of his friend Ralph Curtis, 
at the Palazzo Barbaro, where in 1896 he painted the Venetian 
Interior, his diploma picture at the Royal Academy. In the 
autumn he was in Rome and Florence and visited Siena. Here, 
as Ralph Curtis wrote, the early art of Italy started in Sargent a 
strong sympathy for the Pre-Raphaelite painters; so much so 
that in 1884 Curtis had some misgiving lest Sargent, when he 
migrated to London, might allow his genius to be drawn towards 
this already over-tilled, if not exhausted field of painting. 

In 1883 Sargent exhibited at the Salon his picture of tne 
Boit children under the title of Portraits d'Enfants, and was 
criticized for "its four corners and a void" and the abbreviated 
execution, but the most captious acknowledged the beauty of 
the figures of the children, shown under a strong light upon a 
background of deep shadow relieved by a faint indication of 
light through a small window. What strikes the observer, in 
spite of the rather scattered composition, is the unity of the 
general impression, and this arrests his attention before his eye 


begins to take in the detail. The field of vision is occupied 
by delicately adjusted masses of light and dark, and then as 
the eye changes its focus, the skill with which the painter has 
modulated his degrees of definition from the child seated in 
the foreground to the children further removed and the just- 
suggested objects in the background becomes strikingly apparent. 
Henry James in "Picture and Text" declared it to be an achieve- 
ment "as astonishing on the part of a young man of twenty-six 
as the portrait of 1881 was astonishing on the part of a young 
man of twenty- four." 

At the end of 1883 Sargent changed his address from 73, Rue 
Notre Dame des Champs to 41, Boulevard Berthier, and at the 
beginning of 1884 he went to pay his usual visit to his parents, 
who for the last few years had been spending their winters at 
Nice. In March, 1884, he was present in London at a dinner 
given by Edwin Abbey and Alfred Parsons to the American actor 
Lawrence Barrett. 





Chapter IX 

IN 1883 Sargent had begun a portrait which was to have a 
good deal of influence on his career. As far back as 1881 
he had met Madame Gautreau in Paris society, where she 
moved rather conspicuously, shining as a star of considerable 
beauty, and drawing attention as one dressed in advance of her 
epoch. It was the period in which in London the professional 
beauty, with all the specialization which the term connoted, was 
recognized as having a definite role in the social hierarchy. 
Madame Gautreau occupied a corresponding position in Paris. 
Immediately after meeting her, Sargent wrote to his friend 
del Castillo to find out if he could do anything to induce 
Madame Gautreau to sit to him. " I have," he wrote, "a great 
desire to paint her portrait and have reason to think she would 
allow it and is waiting for someone to propose this homage to her 
beauty. If you are ' bien avec elle ' and will see her in Paris 
you might tell her that I am a man of prodigious talent." The 
necessary preliminaries were arranged, and the disillusionment 
seems to have begun quickly, for after the first few sittings he 
wrote to Vernon Lee from Nice on February 10 (1883): "In 
a few days I shall be back in Paris, tackling my other 'envoi/ 
the Portrait of a Great Beauty. Do you object to people who 
are 'fardees' to the extent of being a uniform lavender or blot- 
ting-paper colour all over ? If so you would not care for my 
sitter; but she has the most beautiful lines, and if the lavender 
or chlorate of potash-lozenge colour be pretty in itself I should 
be more than pleased. ,, In another letter, and again to Vernon 
Lee, he wrote: "Your letter has just reached me still in this 
country house (Les Chenes Parame) struggling with the unpaint- 
able beauty and hopeless laziness of Madame Gautreau." 

Even when the picture was nearing completion he was assailed 
by misgivings. "My portrait!" he wrote to Castillo, "it is 




much changed and far more advanced than when you last saw- 
it. One day I was dissatisfied with it and dashed a tone of light 
rose over the former gloomy background. I turned the picture 
upside down, retired to the other end of the studio and looked 
at it under my arm. Vast improvement. The elancee figure 
of the model shows to much greater advantage. The picture is 
framed and on a great easel, and Carolus has been to see it and 
said: 'Vous pouvez l'envoyer au Salon avec confiance.' En- 
couraging, but false. I have made up my mind to be refused." 

The picture was accepted for the Salon of 1884. Varnishing 
day did nothing to reassure the painter. On the opening day 
he was in a state of extreme nervousness. It was the seventh 
successive year in which he had exhibited. Every Salon had 
seen the critics more favourable, the public more ready to applaud. 
But without suggesting that the critics and public of Paris are 
fickle, it is probably fair to say that popularity, fame and reputa- 
tion are more subject to violent fluctuations there than in other 
European capitals. This, at any rate, was to be Sargent's 
experience. The doors of the Salon were hardly open before the 
picture was damned. The public took upon themselves to 
inveigh against the flagrant insufficiency, judged by prevailing 
standards, of the sitter's clothing; the critics fell foul of the 
execution. The Parisian public is always vocal and expressive. 
The Salon was in an uproar. Here was an occasion such as they 
had not had since Le Dejeuner sur VHerbe, LOlympia and 
the Exhibition of the Independents. The onslaught was led 
by the lady's relatives. A demand was made that the picture 
should be withdrawn. It is not among the least of the curiosities 
of human nature, that while an individual will confess and 
even call attention to his own failings, he will deeply resent the 
same office being undertaken by someone else. So it was with 
the dress of Madame Gautreau. Here a distinguished artist 
was proclaiming to the public in paint a fact about herself which 
she had hitherto never made any attempt to conceal, one which 
had, indeed, formed one of her many social assets. Her resent- 
ment was profound. If the picture could not be withdrawn, 
the family might at least bide its time, wait till the Salon was 


closed, the picture delivered, and then by destroying, blot it 
as an unclean thing from the records of the family. Anticipat- 
ing this, Sargent, before the exhibition was over, took it away 
himself. After remaining many years in his studio it now figures 
as one of the glories of the Metropolitan Museum in New York. 
The scene at the Salon is described in a letter written by Sar- 
gent's friend and fellow-painter, Ralph Curtis, to his parents. 
It will be noticed that at a certain point Sargent's forbearance 
gave way and that his pugnacity, which has already been referred 
to, burst out: 

My dear People, 

Your paper will be ordered this a.m. Yesterday the birthday or 
funeral of the painter Scamps (John Sargent). Most exquis. weather 
Walked up Champs E. chestnuts in full flower and dense mob of " tout 
Paris " in pretty clothes, gesticulating and laughing, slowly going into 
the Ark of Art. In 15 mins. I saw no end of acquaintances and strang- 
ers, and heard every one say " ou est le portrait Gautreau ? " "Oh allez 
voir 9a" — John covered with dust stopped with his trunks at the club 
the night before and took me on to his house where we dined. He 
was very nervous about what he feared, but his fears were far exceeded 
by the facts of yesterday. There was a grande tapage before it all day. 
In a few minutes I found him dodging behind doors to avoid friends 
who looked grave. By the corridors he took me to see it. I was 
disappointed in the colour. She looks decomposed. All the women 
jeer. Ah voila "la belle !" "Oh quel horreur! ,, etc. Then a 
painter exclaims "superbe de style," "magnifique d'audace !" "quel 
dessin !" Then the blageur club man — "C'est une copie !" "Com- 
ment une cope ? " " Mais oui — la peinture d'apres un autre morceau 
de peinture s'appelle une copie." I heard that. All the a.m. it was 
one series of bons mots, mauvaises plaisanteries and fierce discussions. 
John, poor boy, was navre. We got out a big dejeuner at Ledoyens 
of a dozen painters and ladies and I took him there. In the p.m. the 
tide turned as I kept saying it would. It was discovered to be the 
knowing thing to say "etrangement epatant!" I went home with 
him, and remained there while he went to see the Boits. Mde. 
Gautreau and mere came to his studio "bathed in tears." I stayed 
them off but the mother returned and caught him and made a fearful 
scene saying "Ma fille est perdue — tout Paris se moque d'elle. Mon 
genre sera force de se battre. Elle mourira de chagrin" etc. John 
replied it was against all laws to retire a picture. He had painted her 
exactly as she was dressed, that nothing could be said of the canvas 


worse than had been said in print of her appearance dans le monde etc. 
etc. Defending his cause made him feel much better. Still we talked 
it all over till I o'clock here last night and I fear he has never had such 
a blow. He says he wants to get out of Paris for a time. He goes to 
Eng. in 3 weeks. I fear la bas he will fall into Pre-R. influence wh. has 
got a strange hold of him he says since Siena. 

I want him to go to Seville and do the tobacco girls with me in 
Nov. Says he will — nous verrons. 

It would be wearisome to quote at any length the criticisms 
which appeared. Extracts from La Revue des Deux Mondes and 
U Illustration will suffice to show at once the fallibility of even 
the most enlightened, and also the antagonism which the picture 
roused. In La Revue des Deux Mondes Henry Houssaye wrote: 

Nous allions, oublier, le grand succes au Salon; car il y a succes et 
succes; le portrait deMme. . . . par M. Sargent. Le profil est pointu, 
l'oeil microscopique, la bouche imperceptible, le teint biafard, le cou 
corde, le bras droit desorticule, la main desossee; le corsage decollete ne 
tient pas au buste et semble fuire le contact de la chair.* Le talent au 
peintre se retrouve seulement dans les reflets miroitants de la jupe 
de satin noir. Faire d'une jeune femme justement renommee pour sa 
beaute, une sorte de portrait-charge, viola a quoi menent le parti pris 
d'une execution lachee et les eloges donnes sans mesure. 

In U Illustration Jules Comte, one of the most authoritative 
critics of the day, expressed himself as follows: 

Quelle amere disillusion nous attendait devant l'oeuvre du peintre. 
. . . Sans doute, nous retrouvons de la grace dans les attaches, surtout 
dans celle du cou, qui est delicieuse, et la pose ne manque pas de 
souplesse, mais comment a-t-il pu songer a peindre ainsi Mme. X . . . 
seche, reche, anguleuse ? On dirait, en face de ce profil sans ligne, un 
papier decoupe, et encore quelle decoupure. . . . Pas l'ombre de 
dessin dans la bouche; le nez n'est ni modele, ni fait seulement; pas 
de plans dans ce visage plaque, et quel teint, et quelle couleur . . . 

Jamais nous n'avions vu pareille decheance d'un artiste qui avait 
semble donner plus que des esperances. Mais voila, on n'a pas le 
temps de reflechir, on veut aller vite, et on arrive a n'etre plus capable 
de subir des influences. II y a deux ans, on parlait de Goya a propos 

* Albert Woolf wrote in the Figaro in reference to the dress: "One more struggle 
and the lady will be free." 

D S 

Q c 


de M. Sargent, qui revenait d'Espagne: nous ne savons 011 il est alle 
depuis lors; tnais on dirait qu'il n'a plus regarde que dc I'imagerie 


De Fourcaud, writing in the Gazette des Beaux Arts, said 
that anyone standing before the picture could in a very little 
time fill ten pages with the adjectives, violent and contra- 
dictory, which were pronounced by the spectators. Detestable ! 
Ennuyeux ! Curieux ! Monstrueux ! he gives as examples. He 
goes on to say that the critics fell into three divisions: those who 
exclaimed in pious horror at the decolletage, those who recog- 
nized the picture as evidence of modernity and applauded the 
artist's courage, and, lastly, those who condemned the picture 
for the monochrome colour of the flesh tints. De Fourcaud 
himself recognizes the picture as a masterpiece, not only for the 
extreme serenity and rhythm of the lines, but for the summary 
it presents of the psychology of a professional beauty, who, if 
regarded and treated only as such by the world, ends by being 
less a woman than as it were a canon of worldly beauty, dressed, 
posed and with her whole outlook adjusted to the supreme 
purpose of the role to which society has condemned her. That 
indeed, is what the artist has achieved in this masterly portrait. 

Here, perhaps, in sheer beauty of line he has approached as 
near to Ingres as at any time in his career. If we could eliminate 
the content of the picture and reduce it to the outline in which 
the figure, the dress and the poise of the head are contained, 
we should have before us a drawing of free and flowing lines, 
rhythmic as the stem of a flower. 

Sargent, who was now twenty-eight, had been working for 
ten years in Paris. The Salon of 1884 was t0 nave Deen a cul- 
mination of his efforts. He had painted what is now recognized 
as a masterpiece, displaying excellences which he was perhaps 
never to surpass. It had been received with a storm of abuse. 
Paris, which had been smooth and well-disposed and encourag- 
ing, had turned, and like a child splintering a plaything, had 
dealt a violent blow at its recognized favourite. He was not 
in the least in doubt about his art, but he was always sensi- 
tive to atmosphere, always easily affected by an unsympathetic 


environment. Paris had awakened suddenly one May morning 
in an uncongenial mood, its friendliness hidden in clouds; the 
accord which had prevailed between painter and public was at 
an end. Was it worth while to try and readjust the relation 
and reconcile the differences ? Was the disappointment accen- 
tuated by the unwitting offence given to a reigning beauty ? 
We do not know. A certain mystery hangs over the whole 
affair. Sargent was undoubtedly mortified and sore; that, at 
least, is clear. Perhaps a combination of reasons was urging 
him to take advantage of the opening which offered itself in 
London. However that may be, it was to London that he made 
up his mind to migrate. 

Seven years later, in 1891, the same lady was painted by 
Gustave Courtois. He, too, chose to represent her with her face 
in direct profile, but turned so that her eyes look to the left side 
of the canvas. He, too, portrayed her with very much the same 
openness of attire that had aroused such a storm in 1884. But 
seven years had brought a change in the way such things were 
regarded. The picture, which now hangs in the Luxembourg, 
was accepted by the public without comment, its propriety 
was unquestioned. The pious protests of 1884 were silent 
before the revolutionized fashions of 1891. Only one further 
communication seems to have passed between Sargent and his 
offended model. In 1906, as the following letter to Major 
Roller shows, Madame Gautreau had very much modified her 
opinion of the picture: 

Palazzo Barbaro 


_ . _, Oct. 3rd, 1906. 

My dear Roller, ° y 

I think I know what Mme. Gautreau wants to see me about. 

She wrote me last year of a matter of vital importance — it was that the 

Kaiser who was such a dear, thought her portrait the most fascinating 

woman's likeness that he has ever seen, and that he wishes me to have 

an exhibition in Berlin of my things. I wrote that I was abroad and 

couldn't manage it. But to tell you the truth, I don't want to do it. 

It is a tremendous trouble for me to induce a lot of unwilling people 

to lend me their "pautrets" and Berlin does not attract me at all. 



So if you arc taken into Mme. Gautreau *s confidence, and I wish you 

would tear your shirt for it, please discourage her from giving me the 

K.K. command. v . , 

Irs. sincerely, 

John S. Sargent. 

In 191 6 the picture was exhibited at the San Francisco 
Exhibition, and in January of that year Sargent wrote to his 
friend Edward Robinson, the well-known director of the Metro- 
politan Museum: 

31, Tite Street, 


.- XT Jan. 8, iqi6. 

My dear Ned, j ' y 

. . . The permission to communicate with the Museum when I 

have something that I think worthy of it, makes me venture to suggest 

to you, rather than to the Trustees, a proposition for what you may 

think of it. My portrait of Madame Gautreau is now, with some other 

things I sent from here at the San Francisco Exhibition and now that 

it is in America I rather feel inclined to let it stay there if a Museum 

should want it. I suppose it is the best thing I have done. I would 

let the Metropolitan Museum have it for £1,000. . . . Let me know 

your opinion. . . . If Madame Gautreau should not stay in America 

I think she had better come back here with the rest of my things. 

Yrs. ever, 

John S. Sargent. 

Fortunately, owing to the generosity of Sir Joseph Duveen, 
the Tate Gallery possesses a study of the same subject, but 
whether this was done before or after the picture in the Metro- 
politan Museum I have been unable to discover. Several draw- 
ings of Madame Gautreau's profile were found among Sargent's 
sketches. She is also the subject of another oil-painting now 
at Fenway Court, and bequeathed, with her other possessions, 
to the United States by Mrs. Gardner.* 

* See p. 62. 

Chapter X 

IN the same year (1884), while Madame Gautreau from 
the walls of the Salon was like the goddess Clotho spinning 
the fate of Sargent's future destiny, his portrait of Mrs. 
Henry White, exhibited in the Royal Academy, was exciting 
even more than usual contradiction among the critics. Opinion 
fluctuated between the extreme condemnation of The Athenceum, 
which described the picture as "hard, metallic, raw in colour, 
and without taste in the expression, air and modelling," and the 
praise of R. A. M. Stevenson, which, though delivered later, 
represented, as did all that came from his pen, what may be 
considered the more instructed view of the time. Stevenson 
found in the picture "that large and noble disposition which 
we admire so much in the old Masters." "The wavering sil- 
houette," he continued, "of the figure, now firmly detached 
from and now sliding off into its surroundings, may be followed 
with pleasure even if held upside down. It falls into a perfect 
scheme of decorative effect, and yet it relieves from its environ- 
ment with all the consistency and variety of truth." Mrs. White 
was the wife of Mr. Henry White, first secretary to the American 
Embassy in London; she occupied a prominent position in that 
society of Mayfair, through which Sargent was so soon to paint 
his way. The portrait was hung in the dining-room of Mr. 
White's house in Grosvenor Crescent, and there, where it formed 
the subject of constant discussion, not always well-informed 
but none the less dogmatic, it fulfilled a missionary and edu- 
cational purpose, making the name of Sargent familiar to many 
and gradually enrolling supporters to a new canon of taste in 

The portrait created that gap in the fence which is so helpful 
to wealthy patrons of painting seeking for a lead across country 
which they can follow with security. It seemed at that time as 

66 ' 


abrupt a departure from the smooth conventions of the por- 
traiture of the Jay as might a Cezanne from a Birkett Foster. 
The highest praise, perhaps, to which in social circles it was at 
first considered entitled was the indefinite pronouncement that 
it was "chic personified in paint." By degrees, however, it 
won its way and gave a decisive lead, bringing many applicants 
to Sargent's door. It is worth contrasting the two portraits 
of this year, that of Madame Gautreau in Paris and that of 
Mrs. White in London, because they represent two currents in 
Sargent's painting, to one or other of which he had still definitely 
to commit himself. The beauty of Madame Gautreau's por- 
trait lies, as has been suggested, in the delicacy and rhythm of 
the lines, and the sculpturesque and plastic forms which they 
embody. It is one of the very few of Sargent's pictures in which 
there is any trace of the Italian influence of which he was so 
much aware at this time, and which, if rumour speaks correctly, 
he was ready to admit to a share in his development. In the 
extreme simplification of the design and in the sensitive line of 
the profile it is perhaps not fanciful to detect a suggestion of the 
manner of Piero della Francesca. The picture, which is daring 
and original, owes little to contemporary Paris influences. 
Mrs. White's portrait, on the other hand, has for its dominant 
theme the effect of light on the subject painted, on the planes 
and ordered tumult of the dress, on the background and acces- 
sories, on the features of the model. The form of the furniture 
is hinted at rather than defined. Sargent has, in fact, in this 
picture incorporated just so much of the method of the Luminists 
as he was to carry with him through the rest of his work as an 
artist. It represents the direction in which he was tending; it 
is the first presage of his London as distinguished from his Paris 
manner. He was to revert, in certain instances, to his earlier 
vision; but from 1884 we can date the growth of his ultimate 
method of expression. Did the reception accorded the Gau- 
treau portrait influence his outlook ? Nothing seems more 
improbable; complete sincerity was his most prevailing charac- 
teristic. Just as his spoken word was the accurate reflection of 
his character and thought, so his painting was the inevitable 


means by which he expressed what he saw; from neither would 
the clamour of opinion have deflected him in the slightest 

In the summer of 1884, after leaving Paris, he painted 
the picture of the Misses Vickers which was exhibited at the 
Salon in 1885, and sent to the Academy in 1886. Sargent 
owed his introduction to the Vickers family to an amateur 
sculptor and painter named Natop, then working in Paris. 
The Vickers, quick to appreciate the talent of the painter, be- 
came the first English patrons of his art in England. He was 
invited to Lavington Rectory, which the Vickers had taken, near 
Petworth, and here he made a study of the children with white 
lilies, also The Dinner Table, with at it Mr. and Mrs. Albert 
Vickers, and a portrait of Mrs. Albert Vickers* Everything 
connected with country life in England was new to him. The 
climate, the windy skies, the sedate and tranquil landscape, the 
flowers and vegetation, the placid summer light — all came upon 
him with the interest of novelty, but without witchery or en- 
ticement. The impression made by the trees and scenery of 
England roused in him no enthusiasm; at the moment his 
vision was occupied with the gardens and the large white lilies; 
and his astonishment at the growth of rambling cucumbers 
was such that he was unable to demur to the suggestion that he 
must till then have thought they grew in slices. From Lavington 
he went to Bolsover Hill, Sheffield, the home of another branch 
of the family, where he remained for three weeks painting 
the Misses Vickers. At the Academy the picture is authori- 
tatively stated to have been rejected by the judging committee, 
and only accepted on an intimation from Herkomer that he 
would resign unless the picture was recalled and hung "on the 
line. ,, It also obtained a majority in a plebiscite instituted by 
the Pall Mall Gazette, as the worst picture of the year. It was 
the painter's first important attempt at a group, and represents 
three sisters, resembling in this respect his pictures of the 
Hunters, the Wyndhams and the Achesons. Here, as in the 

* His only English portrait before this date was Mrs. JVodehouse Legh (Lady Newton), 
painted in Paris. 






Hunter and Wyndham groups, he has portrayed the three 
sisters seated. In none of his other pictures has he succeeded 
more admirably in producing an entirely natural and familiar 
arrangement without its being in the least commonplace. No 
adventitious accessory is introduced. Nothing takes the eye 
from the grouped figures. It is no formal study. The sisters 
seem simply to have subsided into those attitudes, precisely as 
they might have done had no painter been present. This 
naturalness is more noticeable here than in his later groups, 
where the arrangement of the figures sometimes looks like a 
device to produce a required effect. Here the background is 
no more than the necessary repoussoir for the figures; details are 
repressed; a deep shadow fills the back of the canvas, broken by 
a subdued light in the right-hand corner, which, as in the picture 
of the Boit children, comes from a window at the end of the 
room. As a matter of fidelity to fact it may be questioned 
whether it is possible for the light of day to illuminate the 
figures as it does, without dispelling a good deal of the obscurity 
in the room — a criticism equally applicable to the picture of the 
Boit children, but one to which there are obvious answers. 

In November, 1884, Sargent was at Bournemouth doing a 
portrait of Robert Louis Stevenson. "Sargent," wrote Steven- 
son, "has been and painted my portrait: a very nice fellow he is, 
and is supposed to have done well; it is a poetical but very 
chicken-boned figure-head, as thus represented. " 

In the winter of that year he was back again in Paris. There 
he was at home among the painters. Degas, Renoir, Sisley and 
Pissarro were among those he saw most often, but Claude Monet 
was the artist of all others with whom he was on the most friendly 
terms. The common meeting-ground was the gallery of M. 
Durand-Ruel, then at 16, Rue Lafitte. Pissaro, at this time under 
the influence of Paul Signac and Seurat, was breaking away from 
the Impressionists, and in a lapse which was to prove temporary, 
was painting in the pointilliste or neo-impressioniste manner. At 
the Durand-Ruel gallery this method excited lively debates. It 
met with little approval, and Renoir would greet Pissarro with 
the ironic salutation of "Bon jour, Seurat." They agreed 


only in the condemnation of official art, and as to this, unanim- 
ity prevailed. Apart from the painters, he saw little of the 
French; his associates were the Burckhardts, the Boits, William 
Dana, Julian Story and Miss Strettell (Mrs. Harrison). At the 
Louvre, where he was a constant visitor, he studied Rubens and 
the Primitives. 

Early in 1885 he moved to London and engaged a studio 
at 13, Tite Street (subsequently renumbered as 33, Tite Street), 
of which he took a twenty-one years' lease in 1900. It was 
the first step in his career as a painter in London. 13, Tite 
Street had previously belonged to Whistler, who had decorated 
it with a scheme of yellow, so vehement that it gave a visitor 
the sensation of standing inside an egg.* At the beginning of 
1885 Whistler had moved his studio from Tite Street to 454, 
Fulham Road. 

Beyond Henry James and the American artists then painting 
in England Sargent knew few people. He was taking a venture- 
some step. In Paris he had left behind him that cosmopolitan 
world from which his sitters had been principally drawn. He 
was little known in England either personally or by reputa- 
tion, and what was known about him placed him rather in the 
position of an accused or, at any rate, of a suspect. Did he not 
come equipped with the French artistic outfit, and was not all 
French art suspect? Whistler had been bad enough, and here 
was another American, also trained in the studios of Paris, bring- 
ing with him, in all probability, the intolerable provocations of 
French technique; and, moreover, it was distaste for Paris rather 
than preference for London that had induced Sargent to change 
his scene. The citadel that he had set out to capture was not 
easy. He was twenty-eight years of age, his frame more solid 
than of yore, and of athletic build, his face now fuller but hand- 
some and distinguished in feature and expression. His hair 
and beard were dark; his complexion was ruddy. His eyes were 
of a vivid grey-blue with a reflective intensity in them when his 
interest was aroused like one musing upon the page of a book. 
A musician, a linguist, widely read in the literature of both 

* E. R. and J. Pennell, "The Life of James Whistler," i., p. 300. 


England and France, and as deeply proficient in the history and 
theory of art as he was in its practice, he was well equipped 
for winning his way and overcoming opposition and prejudice. 
His attitude towards his own talents was marked by slightly 
amused humility, probably less noticeable during the ardours 
and aspirations of his youth than later, which, having its root 
in an innate modesty and genial irony, can never have been 
entirely absent. Seriously as he regarded art, and high as he put 
an artist's calling, he had neither the arrogance of the dedicated 
spirit, nor the pretensions of the prophet. G. F. Watts, R.A., 
said of himself that his aim was to do for modern thought what 
Michael Angelo had done for theological thought; such a purpose 
would have been inconceivable to Sargent, passionately absorbed 
though he was in painting. His object was to record with the 
utmost skill attainable the thing as he saw it, without troubling 
about its ethical significance or, indeed, any significance other 
than its visual value. Perhaps for this reason he was least success- 
ful, when towards the end of his career he was pushed by circum- 
stances into painting to meet a particular demand, to play the 
part of a laureate on canvas, and to celebrate subjects of the 
Great War not so interesting to the eye of the painter as excit- 
ing to the historian, poet or patriot. But at the outset of his 
London career no such problems presented themselves. He 
was there to paint in his own way with only one task before 
him, to put at the service of art his own vigorous and accom- 
plished technique. 

Chapter XI 

SARGENT'S acquaintance with Gloucestershire and the 
west of England began at Broadway. In 1885 ( ne na< ^ 
then been settled in Tite Street some six months) he went 
with the American artist Edwin Austin Abbey for a boating ex- 
pedition on the Thames from Oxford to Windsor. At Pang- 
bourne Sargent, who was a fine swimmer, dived from the weir 
and "struck a spike with his head," Abbey wrote, "cutting a 
big gash in the top. It has healed wonderfully well, but it was 
a nasty rap. It was here that he saw the effect of the Chinese 
lanterns hung among the trees and the beds of lilies. . . . After 
his head was bound up he knocked it a second time and re- 
opened the wound." * Abbey insisted on Sargent coming to 
Broadway to recover, and so in September, 1885, Sargent took 
up his residence at the Lygon Arms, the seventeenth-century inn 
in that village. He carried with him a sketch of the effect he had 
noted on the river. It was the origin (so far, at any rate, as the 
arrangement of light) of the picture Carnation, Lily y Lily Rose, 

In those days Broadway had not added to its serpentine length 
a tail of modern dwellings; the traveller from the vale of Eve- 
sham to the Cotswolds was met, at his entrance into the village, 
by the sight of Russell House, with its tithe barn and old-world 

In 1885 the Millets and Abbey were sharing Farnham House, 
which lies a few paces higher up the village street. Of this place 
Sir Edmund Gosse wrote :f "The Millets possessed on their 
domain a mediaeval ruin, a small ecclesiastical edifice, which 
was very roughly repaired so as to make a kind of refuge for us, 
and there Henry James and I would write, while Abbey and 
Millet painted on the floor below and Sargent and Parsons tilted 
their easels just outside." 

* E. V. Lucas, "Life of Edwin Austin Abbey," i., p. 151. 
t "Letters of Henry James," i., p. 88. 



Here in 1885 a group of friends, united by intellectual and 
artistic interests, foregathered: Edmund Gosse, Henry James, 
Alfred Parsons, Fred Barnard, Sargent, Abbey, Millet and others. 
Henry James, then forty-two, had been resident in England 
since 1876. He had just completed "The Princess Casamas- 
sima" and the "Bostonians," which was appearing in the Cen- 
tury Magazine. 

After many wanderings he had settled in London, and was 
slowly accustoming himself to the intellectual atmosphere of 
England, which after the vivacity and raffinement of Paris had 
seemed at first "like a sort of glue-pot." Since 1881 Henry 
James had been writing in Paris appreciative reviews of 
Sargent's work. In 1884 he wrote to William James: "I 
have seen several times the gifted Sargent, whose work I 
admire exceedingly, and who is a remarkably artistic nature 
and a charming fellow." Their friendship had therefore 
begun before their meeting at Broadway. But Henry James 
was not the only man of letters in the party who had learnt 
to appreciate Sargent's work. In 1880 Sir Edmund Gosse, as a 
young author and critic, had been sent to Paris by John Morley 
to write about pictures and statues in the Salon, for the Pall Mall 
Gazette, and he had contributed an article to the Fortnightly 
Review on the same subject. He, too, had recognized the genius 
of Sargent. Up to this time (1885) Sargent's exhibits at the 
Academy,* and his pictures at the Grosvenor Gallery, had been 
received with a very tepid measure of approval by the critics. 
The Spectator ', writing of the Misses Vickers> perhaps went 
further than most of its contemporaries. "And yet," its critic 
wrote, "when it is all done what good is it ? . . . no human 
being except a painter can take pleasure in such work as this . . . 
but genuine lasting pleasure can no man take in what is essentially 
shallow, pretentious and untrue." To find himself now at 
Broadway with two distinguished men of letters devoted to his 
cause, and among fellow-countrymen and enthusiastic admirers, 
must have seemed to Sargent like sailing into port. 

Those who saw the study of the Vickers children at the 

* A Portrait (1882), Mrs. Henry White (1884), Lady Play/air (1885). 


Academy in 1926 will have realized that it obviously contained 
the first suggestion for the picture Carnation, Lily y Lily Rose. 
It was painted at Lavington Rectory in 1884. Two children are 
seen working in a garden, with tall white lilies, similar to those 
in the final picture, growing in the background. The vision 
must have remained latent in the painter's mind, and been 
evoked by the scene witnessed on the river, the mauve light, 
produced by twilight and Chinese lanterns, and the white frocks 
of the two children. Sargent was resolved to paint this scene. 
At first he took as his model Mrs. Millet's small daughter, aged 
five, covering her dark hair with a fair golden wig and sketching 
her in the act of lighting a Chinese lantern at the moment when 
the sun had set and a flush still hung in the sky. While engaged 
on the sketch he saw the two Barnard children, then aged seven 
and eleven, who, with their parents, were living in a house near 
by. They were of a more suitable age, and their hair was the 
exact colour Sargent wanted; he asked Mrs. Barnard to let the 
children pose. It is the Misses Barnard who figure in the picture. 
Never for any picture did he do so many studies and sketches. 
He would hang about like a snapshot photographer to catch the 
children in attitudes helpful to his main purpose. "Stop as you 
are," he would suddenly cry as the children were at play, "don't 
move! I must make a sketch of you," and there and then he 
would fly off, leaving the children immobile as Lot's wife, to 
return in a moment with easel, canvas and paint-box. 

The progress of the picture (Sir Edmund Gosse writes), when 
once it began to advance, was a matter of excited interest to the whole 
of our little artist-colony. Everything used to be placed in readiness, 
the easel, the canvas, the flowers, the demure little girls in their white 
dresses, before we began our daily afternoon lawn tennis, in which 
Sargent took his share. But at the exact moment, which of course 
came a minute or two earlier each evening, the game was stopped, and 
the painter was accompanied to the scene of his labours. Instantly, 
he took up his place at a distance from the canvas, and at a certain 
notation of the light ran forward over the lawn with the action of a 
wag-tail, planting at the same time rapid dabs of paint on the picture, 
and then retiring again, only with equal suddenness to repeat the wag- 
tail action. All this occupied but two or three minutes, the light rap- 


idly declining, and then while he left the young ladies to remove his 
machinery, Sargent would join us again, so long as the twilight per- 
mitted, in a last turn at lawn tennis.* 

These brief sessions every evening went on from August till 
the beginning of November, and when the evenings grew more 
chilly Sargent would dress the children in white sweaters which 
came down to their ankles, over which he pulled the dresses that 
appear in the picture. He himself would be muffled up like an 
Arctic explorer. At the same time the roses gradually faded and 
died, and Marshall and Snelgrove had to be requisitioned for 
artificial substitutes, which were fixed to the withered bushes. 
Sargent could be charming with children, natural and easy, 
without condescension or an appearance of talking down to their 
level. But he was no indiscriminating worshipper of childhood, 
and sentimental generalizations on the subject found him an 
unsympathetic hearer. When harassed by the persistence and 
too untutored flutterings of an uncongenial child he has even 
been heard to murmur a regret "for the good old days of Herod." 
At Broadway for the Christmas festivities of 1886, a cousin of 
the Barnards, aged nine, was introduced at dinner, immensely 
trimmed and polished for the occasion. Sargent, beaming down 
on him, said: "So young and yet so clean." The felicity of the 
immediate reply, "So old and yet so artistic," secured for the 
precocious boy a staunch friend. To the Barnard children he 
was devotedly attached, and the friendship formed with them 
as children ran rejoicingly through his entire life. Here at 
Broadway he was drawing rather drastically on their endurance 
and patience. But he got them interested in the picture, and 
each day's preparations were an event. 

In November, 1885, tne unfinished picture was stored in the 
Millets' barn. When in 1886 the Barnard children returned to 
Broadway the sittings were resumed. 

One of the difficulties was the provision of the necessary 
flowers. When the Millets moved into Russell House a flower 
bed was cut in the garden and the country was ransacked for 
roses, carnations and lilies. Sargent, chancing on half an acre 

* Letter from Sir Edmund Gosse to the author. 


of roses in full bloom in a nursery garden at Willersey, said to 
the proprietor: "I'D take them all, dig them up and send them 
along this afternoon. " The letter of which a facsimile is printed 
opposite shows the artist's own sense of his task. The whole 
episode illustrates his thoroughness. He left no stone un- 
turned, he suffered no obstacle to bar his passage, where his art 
was concerned. When abroad in the same spirit he would cross 
a glacier, skirt the edge of a chasm or climb a precipice to gain 
a coign of visual vantage. And yet, even in 1885, in the midst 
of these activities, he appears to have entertained the thought 
of giving up art. On this point we have the testimony of Sir 
Edmund Gosse. 

At this time (Broadway, 1885), I sawmoreof him than at any other 
time, and if I have anything worth relating it was gathered during 
these enchanted weeks. In the first place I must say that the moment 
was a transitional one in the painter's career. He was profoundly 
dissatisfied with Paris, though I am not sure that I know why. He was 
determined to shake the dust of it off his shoes. He was certainly 
unwilling to settle in America, and he looked in vain (for the moment) 
for any genuine invitation to stay in England. His sitters were all 
American birds of passage: I recall the Vickers family who kept him 
copiously occupied. In this juncture, it will perhaps be believed with 
difficulty that he talked of giving up art altogether. I remember his 
telling me this in one of our walks, and the astonishment it caused 
me. Sargent was so exclusively an artist that one could think of no 
other occupation. "But then," I cried, "whatever will you do?" 
"Oh," he answered, "I shall go into business." "What kind of 
business?" I asked in bewilderment. "Oh, I don't know!" with 
a vague wave of the hand, "or go in for music, don't you know ?" 

Sir Edmund was impressed by Sargent's comments on pic- 
tures; they 

"showed the extreme independence of his eye. For instance," he 
continues, "although I believed myself intelligently occupied with 
contemporary art, and rather proud of my acquaintance with the 
latest French painting, Sargent's trenchant criticisms quite knocked 
me off my legs. At that time English taste accepted Gerome's ele- 
gant nudities without reserve, and Sargent instructed me that they 
were all sugar and varnish. But even more surprising to me were 
the liberties he took with the painters who were the immediate 
darlings of the Parisian aesthetic press, such as Henner and Rolland 




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and that meteoric genius the unfortunate Bastien-Lepage, much wor- 
shipped in the innermost American circles. "Tricks !" Sargent suc- 
cinctly defined the famous optical concentration of Bastien-Lepage. 
But most revolutionary for me, was his serene and complete refusal to 
see anything at all in the works of Alma Tadema, then in the zenith of 
his fame. " I suppose it's clever," he said, " of course it is clever — like 
the things you do, don't you know, with a what d'you call — but of 
course it's not art in any sense whatever," with which cryptic pro- 
nouncement I was left awed and shaken. These judgments on fellow- 
artists were, doubtless, exacerbated by the crisis Sargent was himself 
passing through, but they were wholly sincere, and they were pro- 
nounced without a trace of animosity or passion. Sargent's dislike 
of Alma Tadema's painting here expressed was accompanied with the 
highest deference to his knowledge and opinion. There were few 
artists for whose artistic judgment Sargent entertained such cordial 
respect, none that he was more ready to consult as a critic. His own 
practice of painting at this time, interested me, especially as, though 
I had lived much with artists, the manner of it was quite unfamiliar. 
Sargent started a new canvas every morning, painting for a couple of 
hours at a time with the utmost concentration. I do not think that 
he had worked much in the open air before. He was accustomed to 
emerge, carrying a large easel, to advance a little way into the open, 
and then suddenly to plant himself down nowhere in particular, behind 
a barn, opposite a wall, in the middle of a field. The process was like 
that in the game of musical chairs where the player has to stop dead, 
wherever he may happen to be, directly the piano stops playing. The 
other painters were all astonished at Sargent's never "selecting" a 
point of view, but he explained it in his half-inarticulate way. His 
object was to acquire the habit of reproducing precisely whatever met 
his vision without the slightest previous "arrangement" of detail, the 
painter's business being, not to pick and choose, but to render the 
effect before him, whatever it may be. In those days, when " subject'* 
and "composition" were held in much higher honour than they are 
today, this was a revolutionary doctrine, but Sargent was not moved. 
His daily plan was to cover the whole of his canvas with a thin coat of 
colour, so as to make a complete sketch which would dry so rapidly 
that next morning he might paint another study over it. I often 
could have wept to see these brilliantly fresh and sparkling sketches 
ruthlessly sacrified. 

Oneof Sargent's theories at this time was that modern painters made 
a mistake in showing that they know too much about the substances 
they paint. Of course, Alma Tadema with his marble and his metal, 
was the eternal instance of this error. Sargent, on the other hand, 

7 8 


thought that the artist ought to know nothing whatever about the 
nature of the object before him ("Ruskin, don't you know — rocks and 
clouds — silly old thing !"), but should concentrate all his powers on a 
representation of its appearance. The picture was to be a consistent 
vision, a reproduction of the area filled by the eye. Hence, in a very 
curious way, the aspect of a substance became much more real to him 
than the substance itself. An amusing little instance occurs to me. 
He was painting, one noon of this radiant August of 1885, in a white- 
washed farm-yard, into which I strolled for his company, wearing no 
hat under the cloudless blue sky. As I approached him, Sargent look 
at me, gave a convulsive plunge in the air with his brush, and said 
"Oh ! what lovely lilac hair, no one ever saw such beautiful lilac hair !' 
The blue sky reflected on my sleek dun locks, which no one had ever 
thought "beautiful" before, had glazed them with colour, and 
Sargent, grasping another canvas, painted me as I stood laughing, while 
he ejaculated at intervals, "Oh ! what lovely hair !" The real colour 
of the hair was nothing, it existed only in the violet varnish which a 
single step into the shade would destroy for ever." 

The unfinished picture of the children had not been named, 
but one evening while Sargent was at his easel in the garden, 
a visitor asked what he intended to call it. Sargent happened 
to be humming the words of a song which they had been 
singing the previous evening, "Have you seen my Flora pass 
this way"; one line of it was, "Carnation Lily, Lily Rose/' 
and that line answered the question. 

Music had played a large part in the life of the colony at 
Broadway. "We have music," Edwin Abbey wrote, "until the 
house won't stand it. Sargent is going elaborately through 
Wagner's trilogy, recitatives and all: there are moments when 
it doesn't seem as if it could be meant for music, but I dare say 
it is. I've been painting a head. Sargent does it better than I 
do and quicker, but then he is younger." Miss Strettell (Mrs. 
L. A. Harrison) had joined the party in 1886, and was a power- 
ful unit in the ranks of the Wagnerians. She and Sargent would 
play duets by the hour, and came to be known in consequence as 
"the co-maniacs." "We have really had a gay summer," Abbey 
wrote, "pren tending to work and sometimes working (for there 
are numberless places with easels in them to hide away in — 
if you really do want to work — until four, and then tennis until 


dinner-time, and after dinner dancing and music and various 
cheering games in the studio — but mostly dancing." 

It was at Broadway that Sargent made a full-face drawing of 
Henry James. The drawing, which pleased no one, was a com- 
plete failure and was destroyed, Sargent saying it was "impossible 
to do justice to a face that was all covered with beard like a bear." 
The following year he did a fine profile, reproduced first in the 
"Yellow Book" and then as the frontispiece of Mr. Percy Lub- 
bock's edition of Henry James' "Letters." In the same year, 
1886, he painted the portrait of Sir Edmund Gosse, exhibited 
at the Memorial Exhibition of the Royal Academy, 1925. 

In October, or late September, 1885, Sargent had interrupted 
his residence at Broadway by a second visit to Robert Louis 
Stevenson at Bournemouth. Stevenson had just returned from 
an expedition to the West Country, during which he had been 
laid up for several weeks at Exeter by a severe haemorrhage. 
Back once more at " Skerry vore," he was confronting illness with 
all his vivacious gaiety and courage. He had just published 
"Prince Otto," and at the moment he was finishing "The 
Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," writing "Olalla" as 
a Christmas story, and laying the foundation of "Kidnapped." 
Of the two men, Stevenson, born in 1850, was the elder by six 
years. It was their last meeting. When Sargent returned to 
Bournemouth with his parents in 1888, Stevenson had left for 
San Francisco and the South Seas. There is no record to show 
whether it was chance or design which led to their meeting and 
to Sargent's painting the two portraits of him. Probably 
Henry James brought it about. 

Stevenson, at the time of Sargent's visit, was taken up with a 
criticism of himself by William Archer, which had appeared in 
a magazine called Time. He regarded it as unjust in certain 
particulars, and it goaded him into setting forth one aspect, at 
any rate, of his own philosophy of life. 

Can you (he wrote to William Archer) conceive how pro- 
foundly I am irritated by the opposite affectation to my own, when I 
see strong men and rich men bleating about their sorrows and the 
burthen of life, in a world full of "cancerous paupers" and poor sick 


children and the fatally bereaved, ay, and down even to such happy 
creatures as myself, who has yet been obliged to strip himself, one 
after another, of all the pleasures that he had chosen except smoking 
(and the days of that I know in my heart ought to be over). I forgot 
eating, which I still enjoy, and who sees the circle of impotence closing 
very slowly but quite steadily around him. In my view one dank, 
dispirited word is harmful, a crime of lese-humanite, a piece of acquired 
evil; every gay, every bright word or picture, like every pleasant air of 
music, is a pleasure set afloat: the reader catches it, and, if he be 
healthy, goes on his way rejoicing; and it is the business of art so to 
send him, as often as possible. 

Some hint of the vitality of this way of taking life speaks in 
the debonair and whimsical figure that Sargent has caught in 
the very moment of movement. Here is nothing "dank" or 
"dispirited," no thought of a closing "circle of impotence"; but 
a being, who, while lean and haggard with illness, is still for ven- 
ture and conquest and "as full of spirit as the month of May" — 
his eye as bright as though he had just seen the Rajah's diamond 
or heard the call of Silver's parrot. We see him with invention 
quickening in his brain, his spirit astir with fancy and antic wit; 
a vivid personality revealed with the intimacy that perhaps a 
sketch can best attain. R. A. M. Stevenson described the picture 
as "instinct with life and gesture, to a degree perhaps impossible 
to render by closer and more explicit workmanship," and Robert 
Louis himself wrote about it to W. H. Low on October 22, 1885. 

Sargent was down again and painted a portrait of me walking 
about in my own dining-room, in my own velveteen jacket, and 
twisting as I go my own moustache: at one corner a glimpse of my wife, 
in an Indian dress, and seated in a chair that wasoncemy grandfather's 
but since some months goes by the name of Henry James's, for it was 
there the novelist loved to sit — adds a touch of poesy and comicality. 
It is, I think, excellent, but is too eccentric to be exhibited. I am at 
one extreme corner: my wife in this wild dress, and looking like a 
ghost is at the extreme other end: between us an open door exhibits 
my palatial entrance hall and part of my respected staircase. All this 
is touched in lovely, with that witty touch of Sargent's: but of course 
it looks damn queer as a whole. 

The picture was exhibited at the New English Art Club in 
1887, and it is now in the possession of Mrs. Payne Whitney. 


Chapter XII 

THE Broadway days were a beneficent interlude in 
Sargent's career. When he had severed his links with 
Paris, but had not yet forged new ones with London, he 
found there a sheltered corner and an atmosphere of security and 
encouragement. His position was not unlike that of Henry James, 
when he, a few years earlier, settled in London. Like James, 
Sargent was a stranger in a strange country, his art little known, 
his public not formed, his work not quite in line with recognized 

In 1876 Henry James had written to his brother: 

at a time when my last layers of resistance to a long encroaching 
weariness and satiety with the French mind and itsutterance has fallen 
from me like a garment. I have done with 'em for ever, and am 
turning English all over. I desire only to feed on English life and the 
contact of English minds. Easy and smooth-flowing as life is in Paris, 
I would throw it over tomorrow for an even very small chance to 
plant myself for a while in England. If I had but a single good friend 
in London I would go there. 

Nine years had seen Henry James securely established, and 
in spite of the "glue-pot" atmosphere of social England, he felt 
his environment was congenial to the pursuit of his art. His 
experience was of profit to Sargent. Sargent could also draw 
encouragement from the artistic status of Abbey, Millet and 
Boughton. London is not easily taken by storm, its walls need 
more than a blast of trumpets before they will fall, but once 
a recognition has been won, a stranger probably has a better 
chance of being appreciated in London than in any other 
city in the world. From Holbein to Sargent, painter after 
painter from across the Channel has established himself in 
England, found a host of patrons, and built up fame and 



fortune. Taste in England is often shy of new developments in 
art; when once it has conquered its shyness, it is never niggardly 
in approbation. It throws off its insularity and reserve. Artists 
and public applaud with generosity and without regard to 
nationality or origin. This may have been less true of the 
eighties, but even then, if the innovator in art could survive 
the blows levelled at him by the upholders of conservative and 
academic standards he could safely count on receiving agenerous 
measure of praise. Whistler, who had accompanied innova- 
tion and delayed his own recognition by a fierce fusillade of 
provocative wit, was beginning to come into his own, and in 
1885 had been elected to the British Society of Artists. Any- 
thing, however, that made acclimatization to English life easier 
was to the good. That is what Broadway did for Sargent. 

Spending as he did so many months there, it is surprising 
that he should not have painted the countryside more often. 
He was so deeply immersed in the technique of painting and so 
readily responsive that it might have been expected that he 
would have found many subjects in the neighbourhood. But 
with the exception of three or four small canvases, one of 
which, entitled Broadway, was hung at the Academy Ex- 
hibition of 1925, nothing survives to show that he was ever 
outside London. What is the explanation ? From the first, 
accustomed to sharp contrasts and a uniformly clear atmos- 
phere, to the challenge of stable and high-keyed values, his 
eye was perhaps too little adjusted to the subtle effects of 
English landscape, its fleeting impressions of light and shade, its 
delicate relation of values and its subdued distances. English 
scenery does not proclaim its glories, but whispers its enchant- 
ments, and yields its secrets only to those whose sensibilities are 
tuned by association, sentiment and training to respond. Its 
waters do not glitter and sparkle in fierce sunlight; its trees do 
not push skyward, secure from winter storms; it is not rich in 
terraces and marbles gleaming under blue skies and transparent 
air; white oxen do not plough the fields; its most brilliant colours 
are tempered by an atmosphere enchantingly its own. Land- 
scape, indeed, is as national as customs, modes of thought and 


language itself, and no cosmopolitan has the key. It may, in- 
deed, be questioned whether any painter from Titian to D. Y. 
Cameron or any poet from Dante to Robert Bridges has rendered 
the landscape of a country other than his own in terms that 
completely express just that element of vision which is special 
to the native outlook. The Frenchman, when he sets out to 
paint the Thames Valley, or the Englishman when he takes the 
Loire for his theme, is not speaking his native tongue. He is a 
translator. We need only instance Turner in Switzerland, 
Bonington and Richard Wilson in Italy, Monet in England. 

We are in the habit of attributing to scenery the qualities 
implied by the words grand and awful, romantic, melancholy, 
picturesque or smiling, and there is also scenery which is senti- 
mental, with a special psychology of its own. It is the psycho- 
logical significance which only the supreme artist, who is also 
the native artist, can capture. Need we then be surprised 
that Sargent, a stranger to this country, with a temperament 
taught by habit to mature artistically only in the full definition 
of sunny scenes, should have found little in this visible world 
of England to excite his sympathy ? His American descent, 
though filtered through the studios and galleries of the Con- 
tinent and diluted by the educational ingredients of Europe, 
was nevertheless a factor to be reckoned with. And with such 
a descent we do not as a rule connect the mood of pensiveness 
and "poetic reverie" that we associate with English landscape. 

The forms "netted in a silver haze," the colours, the half- 
tones and dim tinted stains of English landscapes, the 

Farms, granges, doubled up among the hills, 
And cattle grazing in the watered vales, 

the scenes, in fact, that have inspired the painters and poets of 
England had small appeal for Sargent as an artist. For one 
thing, he cordially disliked the quality of English light. The 
most successful picture which he painted out of doors in England, 
he succeeded in painting only with the assistance of a Chinese 
lantern. But in this canvas, by taking the half light and hues 


of failing day and by adding a reflection from the artificial 
illumination, he obtained a subtlety and delicacy of colouring 
reminiscent of his earliest work, and produced what will always 
rank as one of his great achievements. 

On the other hand, in his picture Broadway already re- 
ferred to he cannot be said to have given a true rendering of 
English landscape. He has imported into his scheme of colour 
and his treatment of the tones a Southern atmosphere. The 
emphatic handling gives an air of finality, as if the scene always 
had been and always would be the same, as if no season could 
alter its texture, no cloud subdue its colour. It is, in fact, 
deficient in some of the special qualities which have been noted 
as characteristic of English scenery. But Sargent has sometimes 
a startling way of confounding summary judgments. A few 
yards from the picture Broadway was hanging at the Academy 
a picture painted at Whitby in 1896. A grey sea, a cloudy day, 
brown fishing-boats in the middle distance under full sail — here 
was the very atmosphere of the English coast; here was a com- 
position that murmured the poetry of the sea, quiet and serene, 
with mystery in the colour, the open sky and the movement of 
the ships. It is as if he had recalled his manner of a bygone time 
to show that the lyrical element was within his range. There 
is also the picture Home Fields, painted in 1885, now in the 
Detroit Institute of Art, which is said to reproduce that coolness 
of colour and treatment so uncommon in his landscapes. But of 
such moods his painting offers only widely scattered evidence. 
His picture Game of Bowls at Ightham Moat, painted when 
he first came to England, may also be cited. Here he has caught 
English scenery, not at its best by any means, but in a grave and 
dreary mood, low in key and tone, but not lacking in truth either 
of colour or general effect. Moreover, the game goes forward as 
though the players themselves were affected by the opacity of 
the atmosphere. 

Sargent was curiously indifferent to the trees and woods of 
England; the trees to him were not 

Those green robed senators of mighty woods 
Tall oaks, branch charmed by the earnest stars," 


but, as he once described them with their spreading skirts of ver- 
dure in the park of Sutton Place, "old Victorian ladies going per- 
petually to church in a land where it is always Sunday afternoon." 

The mythic oaks and elm trees standing out 
Self poised upon their prodigy of shade 

had no charm for him. He left them alone. But there is no 
reason to regret that he passed English landscape by. The field 
for his genius was and remained the countries where the atmos- 
phere lent no mystery to what he saw, where subjects he wished 
to represent stood out in all the opulence of form and colour. 
"You speak of Lord Byron and me," wrote Keats in one of his 
letters. "There is this great difference between us. He 
describes what he sees, I describe what I imagine." Sargent 
described what he saw. He painted, if such an expression may 
be allowed in this connection, straight from the shoulder. Both 
in his water-colours and oils he transposes beauty of fact into a 
key of his own, direct, emphatic and suggestive, often satisfying 
in design, and rich in colour and decorative value. When he 
paints in Italy he does not paint fiction or romance; in his render- 
ings of Venice we shall find little sense of the past, we shall look 
in vain in his cypress groves for the vision of a hamadryad or in 
his fountains for the glimpse of a naiad; all is rich and vivid and 
open to the day, painted with a fine sincerity of mind, the work 
of a painter who felt the immediate impression of the moment 
with an intensity that called for an instant response. There is 
no "sigh for what is not," no reaching out for what is "before or 
after," the visible subject is recorded with consummate facility 
and accomplishment, with a swiftness and decision that exclude 
hesitation, with an effect that has an air of inevitableness, and 
abundant in vitality. Years of study and tireless work had made 
him the master of means wherewith he was able to say exactly 
what he had to say, whether by indication or description. 

Chapter XIII 

WHEN the decade of the eighties began, the direction of 
painting in England, for the most part, was in the 
hands of the Academicians then at the height of 
their power. The Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood had come to an 
end; no distinct movement had taken its place. Orthodoxy, 
as dictated from the walls of the Academy, held the field. 
Nonconformity was unorganized and looked at askance, alike by 
the elder painters, the public and the critics. The younger 
artists trained in Paris, when they returned with new methods 
and revolutionary ideas, could find no outlet for their art; the 
Academy turned its back, the critics were hostile, the public as 
a whole would have none of their handiwork. 

But the forces of revolt had been gathering. In 1877 Sir 
Coutts Lindsay opened the Grosvenor Gallery with the avowed 
intention of giving painters a chance, whose works had "pre- 
viously been imperfectly known to the public. ,, To the first 
exhibition Millais, Alma Tadema, Watts, Poynter, all sent 
pictures, and while it is true that works by Holman Hunt, 
Rossetti, Burne-Jones, Walter Crane and Whistler were also 
shown, it was clear from the first that the Royal Academy was 
again to be a dominating influence. Whistler was represented 
by several pictures, one of which, The Falling Rocket, was 
to be famous in the Law Courts. It was upon this picture 
that Ruskin made on July 2, 1877, in "Fors Clavigera," his famous 
comment: "I have seen and heard much of cockney impudence 
before now, but never expected to hear a coxcomb ask two 
hundred guineas for flinging a pot of paint in the public's face." 
Whistler, regarding this as a libel, took proceedings against 
Ruskin. The case was heard in November, 1878. Burne-Jones, 
Frith and Tom Taylor, the art critic of The Times, were called 
for the defence, and at the conclusion of the hearing Whistler 



was awarded one farthing damages, the judge, Baron I luddleston, 

ordering that each party should pay his own costs. The 
hearing gave Whistler a rare opportunity of exercising his wit, 
not a little to the discomfiture of Sir John Holker, the Attorney- 
General, who conducted the case for Ruskin as if he had been 
briefed, not by an aesthetic prophet, but by the Philistines 
themselves. One feature of the trial, which Lord Justice Bowen, 
who was junior counsel for Ruskin, used to detail with a wit no 
less polished than Whistler's, was the introduction into court 
of a Titian as an exhibit, designed to demonstrate to the jury 
what constituted "finish" in a painting. But the jury, fogged 
as they were by the display of other works of art, and the course 
which the case had taken, imagined they were being shown, not 
a Titian, but a Whistler, and would have none of it. 

The stress laid throughout on what was called "finish" in a 
picture defines in a measure the artistic standard of the day. 
"Finish," indeed, might well be used as summarizing several 
of the principal qualities then considered essential in a picture. 
It was against this aspect of art, quite as much as against the 
subjects considered suitable to the walls of the Academy, that 
those influenced by French painting were protesting, as yet not 
very effectively. 

The Pre-Raphaelite Movement, which began shortly before 
1850, may be said to have come to an end about 1870. It was 
as definitely British in its origin as any school of painting that 
has flourished in England, and it was sincere. In conversation 
with Sir Edmund Gosse, Sargent claimed in addition for the 
Pre-Raphaelites that they "were passionate in their art." With 
Ruskin as its prophet, Millais (1829-96), Holman Hunt (1827- 
1910) and Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-82) as its originators, 
and Ford Madox Brown (1821-93) as a principal ally, it aimed 
not merely at truth of representation, but at an emotionalism 
which was opposed to Classicism and vapid genre painting which 
the public confidently expected to see on the walls of the Academy. 
The founders of the movement sought for moral and poetic 
themes in the Bible, in Dante, and in the poetry of Keats, Tenny- 
son and Coventry Patmore. The same care and finish was 


bestowed on every item, whether of leaf, blade of grass, wine- 
glass, table, cornfield or dining-room; though every object was 
selected with a premeditation inconsistent with Realism in its 
proper meaning. Past and Present, by Augustus Egg, and 
the Last Bay in ~the Old Home, by Robert Martineau, may 
be taken as illustrations. These are themes which might have 
been chosen by Hogarth, but whereas Hogarth would have 
imparted to them a quality and character true in their univer- 
sality, the later Pre-Raphaelites have treated them with a senti- 
mentally moral convention. 

They record on canvas the Victorian mood. We see "respec- 
tability" confronted with a crisis, and behaving just as, from 
our knowledge of the tradition, we should expect; that is to say, 
in accordance not so much with the precepts of human nature, 
as after the pattern imposed by the conventions of the day. 

Nothing, at any rate, could be further removed from the 
realism of Sargent. They represented a point of view which was 
the very antithesis of his own; deliberate and studied emotion 
never entered into his art. He was the last man in the world 
to tolerate sentimentality. Yet it is true that one of his favourite 
pictures was Take Your Son, Sir, by Ford Madox Brown, 
and that he entertained a deep admiration for Rossetti. Indeed, 
he owned a small engraving of Rossetti's, The Meeting of Arthur 
and Guinevere, which hung on the landing of his studio, and 
pointing to this on the very last occasion I saw him he said: 
"That is the difficult thing to do, anyone can paint, but to 
design a group so that it will — well, do in sculpture — that's 
what counts. Rossetti could do it." This was in 1925 when 
he had been for some time taken up with sculpture, and had 
executed some small bronzes, including Leda and the Swan, 
two figures from the nude, a Dancer, Death and Victory, Jove, 
a figure of Psyche and this very composition of Rossetti's. But 
in his art he certainly gave no outward sign of kinship with the 
Pre-Raphaelites; his appreciation, in fact, remained academic. 

In technical methods, too, Sargent and the Pre-Raphaelites 
were as the Poles apart. The technique of the Pre-Raphaelites 
consisted in a "painting largely transparent, like water-colour 

National Gallery, Millbank. 


over a white ground, so that in brilliancy the effect is that of 
water-colour on white paper."* Their pictures were painted 
in many cases inch by inch, with minute and careful touches, 
copal varnish was used by them; they aimed at uniform brilliance 
in colour. To this the large, free and rapid brush-work of 
Sargent was entirely opposed, but difference of outlook and 
method never hindered him from admiring schools of painting 
other than his own. 

When he came to London the influence of the Pre-Raphaelites 
had ceased since many years to be an active force in painting, 
only traces of it were to be seen here and there. As a recognized 
school, Pre-Raphaelitism had passed away. 

The art situation in London was as different as possible from 
that which he had found ten years ago on entering the studio 
of Carolus Duran. In Paris there were recognized schools of 
painting, each with its accomplished masters. There, dogmatism 
had been forced to give way before search and enquiry and new 
ideas. Academism, if not actually dethroned, had ceased to 
command the deference necessary to authority. In London 
nothing of the kind had happened. The Grosvenor Gallery 
was, it is true, carrying on a separate existence, but the Aca- 
demicians were year by year tending to crowd out all hetero- 
geneous exhibitors; the advance-guard of Modernism was being 

To a young foreign artist accustomed to the enthusiastic 
daring and variety of Parisian painting, English Academic art 
must have seemed cold, slightly devitalized and over-formal — 
whether his eyes dwelt upon Leighton's gentlemanly and accom- 
plished renderings of classical and mythological subjects, Watts' 
ethical sermons in paint, Tadema's slick and careful studies 
of make-believe Greek and Roman life, or Poynter's correct and 
elegant studies in a similar field. Even the genius of Burne-Jones 
must have struck him as timidly remote, seeking "out of sight 
the ends of being and eternal grace," and pursuing beauty 
through the romantic by-ways of an exotic world. Millais, 
perhaps alone among the leading artists, could be cited as a 

* See D. S. MacColl, "Nineteenth Century Art," pp. 129-130. 


colourist and draughtsman combined. But Millais, now showing 
little trace of Pre-Raphaelitism with its minute adherence to 
visible facts, was adopting a different technique and applying 
it to approved Academy subjects, such as Cherry Ripe and 
the North-West Passage. 

By 1885, when Sargent took up his residence in Tite Street, 
authority was about to lose the vigour of its hold. It was already 
being said that "the Royal Academy would be quite good if it 
wasn't for the Royal Academicians." The inadequacy of the 
Grosvenor and the hostility of the Academy were compelling the 
younger spirits to take the matter into their own hands. London 
was every year receiving a number of young artists who, 
having finished their studies in Paris, were bent on finding for 
themselves the opening for their art which was denied them at 
Burlington House. In 1886, accordingly, after many meetings 
and the surmounting of many difficulties, the New English Art 
Club, a group of some fifty young artists, "all more or less united 
in their art sympathies," as the catalogue stated, opened their 
first exhibition at the Marlborough Gallery. Sargent had been 
invited to contribute and sent a small Impressionist Study, 
and a portrait of Mrs. Barnard. Others connected with the 
movement in its early stages were Professor Brown, Jacques 
Blanche, G. Clausen, Alfred East, Mark Fisher, Walter Sickert, 
T. C. Gotch, Maurice Grieffenhagen, Arthur Hacker, Sir John 
Lavery, Alfred Parsons, J. J. Shannon, Wilson Steer, Adrian 
Stokes, Edward Stott, H. S. Tuke and later Professor Tonks. 
Lord Leighton predicted that the movement would last three 
years; the New English Art Club still continues to hold its 
annual exhibition. The common bond of this group of painters 
was French influence — and if any element of what is best in 
French art and theory has passed into English painting it 
should be remembered that the pioneers in England were the 
New English Art Club, at whose first exhibition Sargent was a 

Almost at the same time a new movement was starting in 
Scotland. There, as in England, while there were artists who 
painted with distinction, the general trend was toward senti- 


mental genre pictures. Portrait painting, too, had become 
more and more literal, smooth and exact, and landscape more 
and more conventional, formal and obvious. The Academy- 
was doing nothing to discountenance these general tendencies; 
on the contrary, Scottish Academism standardized the evils 
which the younger painters were trying to combat. The banner 
of revolt was raised in Glasgow, and the honour of giving birth 
to the "Glasgow school" fell to the great commercial centre of 
Scotland. It was here that towards 1880 W. G. MacGregor 
and James Patterson were joined by James Guthrie, E. A. Walton, 
George Henry and Joseph Crawhall, a young painter from 
Newcastle. In 1884 this group of painters received an accession 
of strength in John Lavery and A. Roche, just then fresh from 
Paris. The general characteristics of the group have been 
summarized by Mr. Caw in his volume of "Scottish Painting." 
"Prettiness," he writes, "and sentimentality and subject in the 
old sentimental sense were condemned, and broad powerful paint- 
ing, full in tone and true in value was cultivated." Just as 
"values" had been the watchword in France since 1830, so now 
they were becoming correspondingly important in the art of 

Landscape painting was carried on at Cockburnspath, a 
centre established by Sir James Guthrie in East Lothian, and 
here the revolutionary forces gathered in much the same way 
as half a century earlier the French landscape painters, in a 
similar spirit of innovation, had made Barbizon their head- 
quarters. The common relation between the members of 
this group lay in a general resolve to seek emancipation from the 
traditions of which the Academy was the janitor and guardian. 
To this end, in varying degrees, they followed other tendencies 
in painting; the Barbizon school, the school of Manet, Bastien 
Lepage, Whistler and through him the Japanese, Velasquez and 
Franz Hals, and the great Italians, were all eagerly sought as 

The outlook that resulted was essentially cosmopolitan. 
Realism and Impressionism each played its part, but personal 
characteristics, as was inevitable in a group each member of 


which had his own idea of how to combat stereotyped pictur- 
esqueness and anecdotalism, in the end prevailed. Different lines 
of radiation and progress from a common centre were gradually 
discovered, and each painter began to travel along his own road. 
The critic of The Times, writing of the Academy Exhibition 
in 1882, indirectly expressed the prevailing antagonism to the 
French school of painting. Writing of what he called the 
Idyllic School he said: 

This idyllic school, as it has been called was simply the offspring 
from the work of such men as Mason, Pinwell and Walker, and had it 
not been for the early and almost simultaneous deaths of those artists 
it would have struck permanent root in our art. This as it seems to us, 
is the mine of feeling which needs working, this is the healthy direction 
in which our artists should be encouraged to tread. But with perhaps 
the exception of Jules Breton and Josef Israels, the influence of all 
continental Schools is against any such method. 

This extract shows that both the critics and the public were 
more exercised about the subject-matter of pictures than questions 
of technique and method. In England the Romantic Movement 
had been dying very slowly, and at the beginning of the eighties 
Realism, cradled and nourished in France, was still regarded as a 
dangerous and insidious force, inconsistent with, if not destruc- 
tive of, great art. The plea of The Times critic on behalf of 
the Idyllic School was a summons to a rearguard action to 
drive back the invaders. In literature, too, Realism was drifting 
across the Channel. The year 1880 had seen the publication 
of "Les Soirees de Medan," containing Sac au Dos and Boule 
de Suif. In the early eighties Maupassant (1850-93) was 
challenging the popularity of Zola (1840-95), while Alphonse 
Daudet (1840-97), the Goncourts and M. J. K. Huysmans were 
all contributing to the ascendancy of Realism. In England the 
death, in 1881, of George Eliot, Carlyle and Borrow brought 
an epoch to a close. The way was opening for the new influence. 
George Moore, "Mark Rutherford " and George Gissing were, 
each in his own manner, proclaiming the new era. Thus side 
by side with the painters returning from Paris, the younger 


writers in England were giving support to the same influences 
already dominant in France. 

While the interaction of literature and painting may easily 
be overstated, there is always a tendency for the same point of 
view to permeate both branches of artistic expression. At a 
given time one art may be in advance of the other, but in the 
end the two will be found, for at least a while, to be moving 
concurrently abreast. The Classic, Romantic and Realistic Move- 
ments have each in turn become a principal factor in both 
pictorial and literary art. Art cannot escape the influence of life. 
And if this be true, it is often the portrait painter who first 
reflects contemporary influence. We can see at a glance that 
the society painted by Goya differs from the society painted by 
Velasquez; that the men and women on the canvases of Watts and 
Millais are of a different order from those who figure in the work 
of Reynolds and Gainsborough. This is due, not only to the 
methods of the painters and the fashions of the sitters, to tech- 
nique and dressmaking, but to the circumstances and conditions 
of the particular epoch. A portrait painter therefore interprets 
not merely those he paints, but through them he interprets the 
society in which they live, move and have their being. Sargent 
for twenty-five years was engaged in portrait painting in London, 
and, as in the case of every great portrait painter, it will be found 
that not a few of the characteristics common to these years are 
summarized in his portraits. In the eighties the way was open 
for new talent, for a painter like Sargent, whose natural gifts 
had been disciplined in the studios of Paris, and who could bring 
to the art of portrait painting originality, unrivalled powers of 
execution, and a certain daring in representing and interpreting 
his fellow-men, without departing, however, too violently from 

Chapter XIV 

IN April, 1885, after a winter of work in London, Sargent 
joined his family at Nice. Two letters to Miss Strettell 
(Mrs. Harrison) show his preoccupation at this time with 

Bailey's Hotel, 

Gloster Road, 

My dear Comaniac, ? * 

I have just got a note from Mrs. Fraser which makes me remain 
stupid, as you say at a certain watering place which you so often 
advertise. I am to go with you and Mrs. Liszt to the Liszt concert 
"dont Tivoire a le trac." You must ask him to play even without his 

I suppose I am indebted to Comyns Carr for this treat which I hope 
I may repay by a series of amiable processes. ... I have begun two 
portraits and am getting them well under way before leaving for Paris 
about the 15th to finish them when I return 15th May. I shall see 
you I suppose at (illegible) little play . . . and I will rejoice for are we 
not the two Comaniacs and is not Wagner our strait Jacket ? He is. 

Yours sincerely, 

John S. Sargent. 

Arts Club, 

Dear Comaniac, ^ '* 

. . . Richter's plans are now known. "The Grand Wagner 
Night" is on June 7th and June 10th same programme 2nd Act of 
Tristan and almost entire 3rd Act of Siegfried with Malten, Gudehns, 
Henschel etc. The concerts before contain nothing for us and the 
last one is Beethoven Missa Solemnis. How are you enjoying Porto 
Fino ? "Will it wash ? " as Violet Paget says of Venice. Since that 
remark I have not written to her. 

I am very well hung at the Academy and Grosvenor and cheerful on 
that score. Most of my friends are out of town Abbey and Millet at 
Broadway, Mrs. Playfair and Mrs. Harrison at Aix. 

Yours ever, 



|V . • • • • , . - , 








In the summer of 1886 he again visited his family, who were 
living at Gossensass, then no more than the hotel and a few 
chalets, near the newly opened railway on the Brenner. Gossen- 
sass may be remembered as the spot chosen by Ibsen in which to 
spend the summer months between 1883 and 1893, and as the 
scene, in 1889, of his meeting with the young Viennese lady 
Miss Emilie Bardach, who suggested the heroine of the "Master 
Builder."* Ibsen was then sixty-one. Nine years later he 
wrote: "That summer at Gossensass was the most beautiful 
and the most harmonious portion of my whole existence. I 
scarcely venture to think of it and yet I think of nothing 
else. Ah! forever!" Ibsen was certainly there at the time 
of Sargent's visit, but there is no record of their becoming 
acquainted. These visits meant no pause in Sargent's out- 
put of work. He would arrive at the station loaded with 
canvases and sketch-books, bristling with the equipment for 
plein air sketching, and with these piled up round him in a fly 
he would draw up at his destination dominant and smiling. 
No infatuated fisherman, arriving beside a chalk stream on a 
summer evening, could be more on the tiptoe of expectation 
than Sargent on these occasions. To the end of his days he 
had the supreme gift of being able to look forward, with the 
certainty of discovering excitement in new scenes and places. 
He habitually took thought for the morrow, but not of the 
anxious kind; it was thought rich in anticipation of what the 
next day would bring forth. Few artists can have rejoiced as 
much in the exercise of their calling; certainly none can have 
practised it with more singleness of purpose. But it was away 
from his portraits, on the canals of Venice or the plains of 
Palestine, in the passes of the high Alps or among the dancers 
of Spain, or the fountains and cypresses of Italy and the gardens 
of Sicily, or, again, at Capri or Corfu, or on any one of the count- 
less journeys that he made with friends, that his spirit was most 
at ease and serene — anywhere, in fact, where he could "make the 
best of an emergency" as he called painting a water-colour. 
And an emergency was seldom wanting. Mrs. de Glehn recalls 

* Edmund Gosse, "Ibsen" (1907), p. 169. 

9 6 


how on a hot day in Italy, having missed a connection at a 
junction, the party had to wait a considerable time. The rest of 
them had no thought but how to keep cool, but Sargent at once 
unpacked his easel and in the great heat he brought off one of his 
most brilliant studies of white oxen outside the station. This 
is a typical instance of his zeal, which coined even the accidents 
of life into opportunity. 

In the late summer of 1886 he was back again at Broadway, 
finishing Carnation, Lily Lily Rose. 

In 1887 he was invited to go to i\merica to paint the portrait 
of Mrs. Marquand, but he was reluctant to relinquish the hold 
he was acquiring in London; orders had been coming in quicker 
than he expected. He was beginning to find unlooked-for sym- 
pathies in his new surroundings, and while critical opinion was 
still very divided about his work, he was everywhere recognized 
for better or for worse as a new force in painting. This year 
(1887) he was represented in the Academy by Carnation, Lily 
Lily Rose and his portrait of Mrs. William Play/air, and in 
the exhibition of the New English Art Club by the sketch of 
Mr. and Mrs. R. L. Stevenson and The Portrait of a Lady. 
He had also painted Dr. William Playfair, Edith Lady Playfair, 
Mrs. Charles Inches and Mrs. Charles Fairchild. When, there- 
fore, the invitation to visit America arrived, he named a price 
which he believed would be deterrent, but his offer was accepted. 
It was never easy to him to refuse; it was always distasteful to 
him to disappoint. Within the limits of fidelity to his art, it 
was his way to think more of what others wanted than of what 
was most attractive to himself. His mild subterfuge having failed, 
he resolved on his second expedition to the U.S.A. In July 
he was at the Henley Regatta with a party of friends staying for 
a week at the Shiplake Inn, and this "outing" was repeated again 
in July, 1888. On this second occasion Alfred Parsons was host 
at the Red House, Shiplake. 

In a letter to Claude Monet Sargent expresses admiration 
for a picture by that Master which he had recently bought,* and 
described efforts of his own to paint Thames scenery. 

* The picture Rock at Treport was sold at the Sargent sale, July, 1925. 


Mon cher Monet, 

C'est avcc beaucoup dc mal que je m'arrachc de devant votre 
dclicieux tableau pour lequel " vous ne partagez pas mon admiration " 
(quelle blague !) pour vous redire combien je l'admire. Je resterais la 
devant pendant des heures entieres dans un etat d'abrutissement 
voluptueux ou d'enchantment si vous preferez. Je suis ravi d'avoir 
chez moi une telle source de plaisir. 

Vous, ne dites rien de votre projet de venir, a Londres a l'automne. 
II me serait presque agreable de lesavoirremisparceque jeserai absent 
en Amerique. J'ai des commandes de portraits la bas et une occasion 
tres agreable d'y aller passer deux mois. Je pars le 17 Septembre. 

Quoique j'ai beaucoup travaille dernierement sur la Tamise je n'ai 
rien comme resultat. C'est un peu parceque ce sacre projet de voyage 
me rendait impossible l'achevement de mon tableau, et puis les diffi- 
cultes materielles faire des gens en bateau sur l'eau, entre bateaux etc. 

Je vous envoie ce que j'aurais du vous envoyer il y a longtemps. Si 
vous trouvez des a toucher ... les banquiers Drexel, 
Harjes et Cie 31 Bd. Haussman connaissent ma signature. 

Cher Monet je vous remercie et je vous aime. Comme artiste, 

alors, je vous adore. T 

J John S. Sargent. 

Je ne suis pas gris. 

Sargent considered that Claude Monet had exercised a 
greater influence on art than any modern painter, and some 
letters written several years later give his reasons; for the moment, 
however, it is worth noting that in 1888 he was expressing his 
admiration for Monet in terms of warmest eulogy. 

On September 17 Sargent sailed for America. He remained 
there during the winter 1887-88. It was just the ordinary 
experience of strenuous work, mostly carried out at Boston where 
late in December, at the St. Botolph Club, Newbury Street, 
there was an exhibition of some twenty of his pictures. These 
included El Jaleo (shortly before this date purchased by the 
Hon. Jefferson Coolidge), portraits of Mrs. Marquand, Mrs. 
Inches, Mrs. Brandegee, Mrs. Boit, Mrs. Gardner, and the picture 
of the Boit Children, as well as some of his smaller studies done 
in Italy. 

It was the first occasion on which America had had the chance 
to realize that in Sargent they could claim as a countryman 


a painter of the first rank. The vigour and freedom of his work, 
its directness of statement and sincerity, its brilliant variation 
from the stereotyped conventions of the day, and its masterly 
and summary adaptation of means to a given end, made a pro- 
found impression on the American public. Henceforward his 
position in the United States was assured. 

American appreciation, the sense of being a prophet in his 
own country, probably brought him as much solid satisfaction as 
the whole volume of praise and fame which was bestowed on 
him in Europe. America, indeed, was a much more constant 
motive for his actions than was generally supposed. His decora- 
tive work at Boston — and it is but only one instance of many — 
was prompted by this national allegiance, and to this has to be 
added his constant desire that America should be the home of 
so large a share of his best work. When the Metropolitan 
Museum acquired the portrait of Madame Gautreau, when El 
Jaleo was installed at Fenway Court, and when Boston bought 
the great series of water-colours which now adorns the Museum 
of that city, he was keenly pleased. Though his nationality 
was not apparent on the surface, and though he was not bound 
by close personal associations, the idea of his country and 
of his obligations as an American citizen never left him. 

In 1887 he did six illustrations for Miss Strettell's (Mrs. 
Harrison's) "Spanish and Italian Folk Songs." It is to be 
regretted that the book is out of print on account not only of 
the illustrations admirable in design and quality, but for the 
beauty of the translations themselves. 

In the early part of 1888 Sargent was back in England. His 
family had spent the winter in Florence, where his father 
had been struck down by a paralytic stroke. In the spring it 
was decided to bring him to England, and a house was leased for 
the summer at Calcot, Reading. Such time as he could spare 
from his work in London Sargent now spent with his family at 
Calcot. In the winter they moved to Bournemouth, to a house 
near Skerryvore, the former home of R. L. Stevenson. It was 
here, in April, 1889, that FitzWilliam Sargent died. 

Since his seizure at Florence Sargent's father had been an 



invalid, his contacts with the world broken, his memory affected, 
and his capacity for movement gravely impaired. Sargent 
watched over him with a "lovely happiness of temper" and 
constant solicitude. The last months of the father's life were 
eased by the ministering care of the son. Yet Sargent did not, 
as a rule, suffer invalids gladly; by nature robust, he was so seldom 
ill himself that he was inclined to think others were apt to 
surrender too easily. When, in later years, he was subject himself 
to inroads of influenza he was singularly obstinate in working 
up to the last possible moment, then only to pursue unaided 
methods of salvation in the austere surroundings of his Tite 
Street bedroom. But those whose memories of him go back 
to 1889 recall vividly the rare quality of the tenderness with 
which he soothed the last months of his father's life. Before 
his father's death he had taken the vicarage at Fladbury, near 
Pershore, and there the succeeding summer was spent by the 
family. His visitors were Vernon Lee, Miss Anstruther Thom- 
son, M. and Madame Helleu, Miss Flora Priestley, Miss Strettell, 
Alden Weir, the Richardsons, Judge Patterson and Major Harold 
and Mrs. Roller, as well as the colony from Broadway some nine 
miles distant. Here Sargent painted two portraits of Miss Priest- 
ley, and one of M. and Madame Helleu in a Canoe. 

There is no doubt that in 1888 and 1889 Sargent was defi- 
nitely experimenting in Impressionism. He was busy painting 
the play of light on sunlit water, catching the exact flicker, 
the ripple of the reflections, and their fleeting effect on objects 
within range. He made several studies of his sister, Mrs. Ormond, 
under these conditions; one a full-length, Fishing, was shown 
at the Memorial Exhibition at Burlington House, another is 
reproduced opposite p. 100. 

These pictures show a delicacy of touch and a tenderness 
of colour which give place to other qualities in his later work. 
The charm we see here is not the charm we are accustomed to 
look for in the work of subsequent years. It is more intimate 
and personal, more subtle and pervasive. Broken touches, here 
and there broken colour, lightness of key, harmony of tone, unity 
of effect, and contrast reduced to its lowest terms — the charac- 


teristics, in fact, associated with Impressionism are found 
in the studies of this period. He was at the time under the 
influence of Monet's picture of the Rock at Treport, then 
in his possession and referred to in his letter; but that influence 
waned. Sargent turned away from this phase of his painting, 
and by 1890 he had reverted to the style with which he was more 
familiar. The picture of Mrs. Ormond* justifies the wish that 
there had been other interludes in his career of a like kind; not 
certainly at the expense of his greater manner, but as occasional 
pieces, as lyrics set in drama, or idylls in a book of odes. 

Sargent has invested the figure of a young woman sauntering 
on a sunny day beside a river in the month of June with all the 
poetry that such a subject can suggest. Her beautifully modelled 
head is framed by her open sunshade, the light from the water 
is reflected on her face, and seems to move as it plays on the inner 
surface of the sunshade; the frame thus formed is completed 
by the gloved hands, one of which holds the stick of the parasol 
while the other grasps one of the corners of the sunshade. The 
figure of a girl in a white dress, the foliage, the still water, the 
meadow beside which she walks are bathed in sunlight. As she 
moves "over the gleam of the living grass," she communes 
with her inner thoughts, her lips slightly parted, her mind 
detached from the scene of which she forms a delicate and 
illumined feature. 

This year, 1889, he exhibited at the Academy portraits of 
Sir George Henschel, Mrs. George Gribble y and Henry Irving; 
at the New English Art Club, A Morning Walk, and St. 
Martin s Summer, and at the New Gallery the well-known 
picture of Miss Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth. In reference to his 
portrait of Ellen Terry he wrote to Mrs. Gardner as follows: 

33, Tite Street, 

Chelsea, S.W., 

t^ »« r> Jan. ist, '89. 

Dear Mrs. Gardner, j y 

Am I in time to forestall the conclusion that I forget my 

friends ? I should dislike such a reputation and being a very bad 

correspondent I seem to invite it. Horrible injustice ! It shows the 

utter inanity of logical inferences. 

* Exhibited at New English Art Club, 1889. 



You know several of the people whom I am painting now, sol shall 
talk shop. Henschel, Miss Huxley, Ellen Terry; if one can say one 
is painting, when sittings resolve themselves into sitting by the fire or 
at the piano with lamps at two in the afternoon. There ought to be 
a Tower Eiffel here with studios at the top. Miss Terry has just 
come out in Lady Macbeth and looks magnificent in it, but she has 
not yet made up her mind to let me paint her in one of the dresses 
until she is quite convinced that she is a success. From a pictorial 
point of view there can be no doubt about it — magenta hair ! 

I am going to Paris in the Spring for the Jury of '89 and to paint a 
portrait or two. Will you be there in March or April ? 

With best wishes for a happy New Year, 

Yours sincerely, 

John S. Sargent. 

The dress for Lady Macbeth was designed by Mrs. Comyns- 
Carr, who relates on the first night of the play Sargent shared 
her box and, on the appearance of Ellen Terry on the stage, 
exclaimed with that lingering intonation so familiar to those 
who knew him, "I say!" It was a sign in him, unpretentious 
in itself as a schoolboy's expression of delight, that he had been 
"bowled over." 

He also sent six portraits to the United States Section of the 
Paris Exhibition; for these he was awarded a medal of honour and 
made Chevalier of the Legion of Honour. 

When Sir George Henschel wrote to express his thanks 
for his portrait, he received in reply a note which shows 
the gracious turn Sargent could give to such acknowledgments. 

I must tell you (he wrote) what a great pleasure it has been to 
me that my venture at painting you has resulted in such a generous 
expression of satisfaction on your part and Mrs. Henschel's, greater than 
I have ever met with — and that with my means I have given you the 
pleasure that you always give me with yours and I should be quite 
satisfied with my portrait if I created in you the sentiment of sympathy 
which prompted me to do it. 

A later letter to Sir George Henschel shows his consideration 
for younger artists. He was always ready to let them draw on 
his knowledge and also his resources — as if it were a matter of 
course they should, or, at any rate, keen pleasure to himself. 


Sir George had asked him to look at the work of a young artist 

friend; Sargent wrote: 

33, Tite Street, 
My dear Henschel, (No date). 

. . . very good naturedly brought his pictures here. The 
larger portrait of a man in an Inverness cape has a great deal of style 
and arrangement as well as extraordinarily thorough and minute 
drawing. You will I think see he is working in the right direction — 
I do decidedly — for it is evident that he has a much better sense of 
form than of colour and he is right in turning his attention to drawing. 
To try for colour (of which he seems to have no sense at all) would 
probably handicap him in his drawing and he had much better go on 
sacrificing everything to form and get the very most he can out of that. 
He ought to guard against his things having a certain photographic 
look. Please do not let him know that I have made this sort of report 
to you. He might think what I say about colour rather discouraging 
and unfair and whether consciously or not he is doing what I advise. 

In the late summer of 1889 he was painting in Paris. It was 
the year of the Universal Exposition. In the following letter 
to Claude Monet he refers to his picture of the Javanese dancer: 


Mon cher Monet, Jeudi. 

Quelle idee ! J'ai ete horriblement occupe et je manque de 
timbres postes: voila qui explique mais n'excuse pas mon silence. 
J'aurais du repondre a une aussi gentille lettre qui etait tout a fait en 
harmonie avec ma facon de penser — c'est des felicitations banales qui 
m'auraient fait rire de votre part. 

Je voudrais bien pouvoir m'arreter a Giverny mais les Javannaises 
me retiennent ici jusqu' au dernier moment qui est deja passe du 
reste. Il-y-a plus d'une semaine que je devrais etre en Angleterre. 

Apropos du Olympia, j'ai vu Boldini qui donnera mille francs: j'ai 
en ami parle a Roll et a (illegible). Les deux approuvent et Roll 
donnera quelque chose mais (illegible) dit qu'il ne peut pas. Je n'ai 
pas vu Duret en personne. Je reste encore quelques jours ici. 

Venez en Angleterre plus tard, mon addresse de Londres pour les 

Bonne poignee de main et je vous en prie ne soyez jamais inquiet 
de mon affection. John S. Sargent. 

As the letter shows, he was interesting himself in the 
purchase of Manet's Olympia for the Louvre. 

Chapter XV 

IT is commonly said that when Sargent grew tired of portrait 
painting he turned to decoration and began his work for 
the Boston Library. But when he undertook this work 
he was only thirty-four and he was occupied with it for the best 
part of thirty years. Before its completion he had undertaken, 
in 191 6, further decorative work at the Boston Museum of Fine 
Arts which he finished in 1921, and in 1922 he painted the two 
decorative panels in the Widener Memorial Library, Cambridge, 
Massachusetts, in commemoration of Harvard's share in the War. 
It was therefore within a very few years of his arrival in England 
that he turned to decoration and many years before he had 
reached his culmination as a portrait painter. 

The Boston Public Library was designed by the famous 
architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White, of New York, 
and the member of the firm principally responsible for the form 
and structure of the building was Charles Follen McKim, born 
in 1847. The building is constructed in the style of the Italian 

The trustees of the library before 1890 had resolved that 
it should be decorated internally in a manner worthy of the 
architecture, which has made it one of the best-known civic 
edifices of the United States. 

It was agreed to invite the co-operation of Sargent, Edwin 
Abbey and Puvis de Chavannes. In January, 1890, Sargent 
with his sister Violet arrived in America; Edwin Abbey and 
Stanford White had preceded them. In the spring of 1890 the 
architects McKim, William Rutherford Mead, and Stanford 
White, together with St. Gaudens, who had been commissioned 
to carry out certain sculptural groups for the building, began the 
negotiations on behalf of the trustees. St. Gaudens at the time 



was engaged on a medallion of Miss Mead, the future Mrs. Abbey. 
He wrote the following letter to Abbey:* 


McKim, White,Sargent, thee and I dine at the Players Wednes- 
day night this week at 7.30. D.V., so help me God. But, be Jasus, 
McKim don't want any other fellows round, although I tried to (get) 
the whole crew together as we had agreed. The photos will be on 
hand. If you can't come, let me know right away. The Medallion 
looks like hell. I thought I had done a good thing, but it makes me 

sick. c ~ 

St. G. 

It was after this dinner that the following letter was written 
by Charles McKim to Mr. Abbott, President of the Board of 

57, Broadway, 

New York, 

McKim, Mead and White, a y 9 •> 9 

Charles F. McKim. 
Wm. Rutherford Mead. 
Stanford White. 

My dear Abbott, 

Let me explain my despatch of today. I received one morning 
a little over a week ago an excited note from St. Gaudens, stating that 
Abbey had just returned from Boston and was at that moment dining 
with him. It appears that while there, Abbey had gone over the 
Library and was so impressed that on his return he could talk of nothing 
else. This at least was the substance of St. Gaudens's note. 

It appeared also that Sargent had expressed himself strongly in- 
terested in it, and knowing the policy of your Board in favour of mural 
decoration should the opportunity offer for it, St. Gaudens proposed 
boldly that we should meet at "The Players'* Club the following 
Wednesday evening and dine with him and talk over a scheme to be 
submitted to the Trustees. You can imagine how joyfully this news 
with such substantial assurances of interest and approval from men 
like Abbey and Sargent and St. Gaudens, and how delighted we were 
to accept his invitation to meet them at dinner. Only Abbey, Sargent, 
St. Gaudens and McKim, Mead & White were present. After 

* E. V. Lucas, "Life of Edwin Abbey," p. 228. 


Boston Decorations. 


dinner, the plans of the Library were spread out and the mural possi- 
bilities of the walls and ceilings of the halls and galleries forming the 
special library collections discussed. Abbey was vastly interested 
in the Shakespeare collection while Sargent's interest in the direction 
of Spanish literature was a most natural one. The interest of the 
occasion was much enhanced by the presence of several hundreds of 
carbon prints from the Masters, covering the whole period of the 
Renaissance. The works of Baudry and Puvis de Chavannes were 
also discussed. 

Finally Abbey with the spontaneity which characterizes him could 
resist no longer and seizing his pencil sketched out almost in a moment, 
upon a sheet of brown wrapping paper, which happened to be at hand, 
two compositions for the Shakespeare Room, representing at one 
end "Comedy" seated opposite "Tragedy" under a ceiling divided 
into "Sonnets." These two allegorical figures were placed in repose 
over the central door-ways of access and exit from the room and were 
surrounded each with numerous figures proper to the subject. It was 
impossible to restrain our admiration as he went from one thing to 
another, talking as he drew, and it was good to observe the pride which 
Sargent evinced in the powers of his brother-artist. The next day 
Abbey came here at four o'clock and stayed for two hours or more for 
the purpose of obtaining accurate measurements of the wall surface 
and ceiling to be covered, and the disposition of the various vaultings. 
I gave him three arrangements; one representing an assumed collec- 
tion requiring a space the length of two windows, one representing 
he length of three windows, and one representing five windows in 
t ength. The last with the barrel vault (with square ends), the first 
two groined (with penetrations). 

Last night I dined with him and his wife at St. Gaudens's and 
learned that he had actually made a study in oil since our meeting at 
"The Players" Club, which St. Gaudens and I are going to see today. 
To make a long story short, we propose if you approve, to descend upon 
you in Boston some time during next Wednesday, with the sketches 
which have been made at our request, and take dinner with you and 
talk this matter over. 

Abbey sails immediately for Capri with his bride of two weeks. 
St. Gaudens and I are very anxious that you should meet and know 
him, hence the sudden dispatch. The suggestion to ask Mr. Brooks, 
Mr. Brimmer and others at the same time, was, in order to render the 
occasion more interesting, as well as to create, if possible, public 
support of a policy which has not yet been carried out on this side ol 
the ocean. Of course we do not expect anything from the City, but 
I am convinced that any space which you may see fit to allot to Abbey 


and to Sargent can be paid for privately. / already have some -promising 

assurances of this ! 

No such brilliant opportunity has come within my recollection 

and I feel sure that it will appeal to you all in the way it deserves. 

Sincerely yours, 

c A „ . ^ Charles F. McKim. 

S. A. B. Abbott, Esq. 

Towards the middle of May, 1890, the whole party went to 
Boston and there met the Trustees of the Library and settled 
the final terms of the great undertaking. Sargent was given 
and accepted the commission to decorate the corridor or special 
libraries floor at the head of the principal staircase; a task which 
was to tax his imaginative and intellectual resources for twenty- 
six years, and to evoke in him also a talent for the plastic arts 
and modelling in relief. The apartment is 84 feet long, 23 feet 
wide, and 26 feet high, lit from above with a vaulted ceiling. 

It forms a spacious landing and encloses the head of the 
marble staircase. Abbey, at the same time, undertook the 
decoration of the distributing room, involving a frieze of 180 
feet in length and 8 feet in height. His first intention was 
that the frieze should have for its theme "subjects taken 
either altogether from Shakespeare, or one each from some 
typical writer of the various countries of Europe." Later this 
was altered to a single subject, "The quest and achievement of 
the Holy Grail," divided into fifteen scenes. 

It will be noticed that as late as May, Sargent was still think- 
ing of getting his subjects from Spanish literature. Why then 
did he turn from a theme with which he was already familiar, 
and launch upon a subject so vast and complex as that he ulti- 
mately chose ? It may well be that in the symbolic figures of 
an abstract theme he saw and welcomed an escape from the 
concrete, and from the literalness and limitations of portraiture. 
Decoration was a phase of art in which he had himself made no 
experiments. It is true that he had studied Tintoretto and 
Tiepolo and the great Venetian decorators, and had been a pupil 
of Carolus Duran when that artist had painted a ceiling for 
the Louvre, but he had done nothing of the sort himself. 


Confronted now with the alternative of taking scenes from 
the pictorial literature of Spain, or choosing some scheme of 
his own, he turned to religion. The subject required faculties 
and qualities not usually associated with Sargent's art. For once 
he was not dealing with the visible and tangible world, but rather 
a thing so abstract as a movement of thought. The progress of 
that movement had to be interpreted, symbolized and legibly 
translated into painted form. It was a daring scheme. He 
must have seen in a flash of intellectual vision the possibilities 
of the idea. His mind must have been already stored with 
learning sufficient, at any rate, to enable him to visualize vaguely 
the opportunities or imagery provided by such a theme. But it 
was with no fervour of religious enthusiasm that he approached 
it. To Sargent the evolution of religion was a subject which 
could be viewed with detachment; he approached it without bias 
or preference. He was no mystic drawing near to some sacred 
shrine, no devout enthusiast working by the light of an inward 
revelation, but a painter aware that here was a subject with a 
significance lending itself to interpretation in decorative pictorial 
designs. His imagination was fired, but as when he was told he 
had revealed the moral qualities of a sitter he said, "No, I do 
not judge, I only chronicle," so in his Boston decorations he 
must be understood as treating objectively and dispassionately 
the images suggested by his theme.* 

Though the agreement with the trustees was come to in 
May, 1890, the contract was not signed till January 18, 1893, 
when they undertook to pay fifteen thousand dollars, and the 
painter to complete the work by December 30, 1897. In 1895 
the scope of the scheme was very much extended. Mr. Edward 
Robinson raised a subscription of a further fifteen thousand 
dollars, and for this sum Sargent agreed to decorate the side 
wall of the Sargent Hall and to enter into a contract to that 
effect. He was much exercised about the decoration of the 
tympana or lunettes, holding that it was inadvisable to settle 
as to these before the side wall had been completed. But 

* At the end of the chapter will be found the titles of the subjects included in the 


then, had the subscribers paid their money in the belief that 
the tympana were to be painted ? Did they regard them as 
part of the bargain, or would they allow them to be dependent 
on the general effect and only painted if needed as part of 
the decorative requirements when the side wall was finished ? 
These questions were very agitating. It was just the sort of 
difficulty most calculated to perplex the conscientious mind of 
Sargent. On the one hand was his scrupulous desire to fulfil 
to the letter what might be the expectations of the subscribers, 
on the other his recognition that the tympana might be the 
better for being left alone. In the end, and after a voluminous 
correspondence, he was persuaded by Mr. Robinson to regard 
himself as having a free hand; his scruples were set at rest, and 
when the time came for forming an opinion he went ahead with 
the tympana as part of the scheme. This second contract was 
signed December, 1895. 

Having settled on his subject, "The development of reli- 
gious thought from paganism through Judaism to Christianity/' 
Sargent there and then began to make studies. At the end 
of May, Abbey, then on his way to England, wrote:* 

I wonder how John is getting on, and whether you have built him 
a beautiful model yet. I went into his studio a day or two before I 
sailed and saw stacks of sketches of nude people, saints, I dare say, most 
of them, although from my cursory observations of them they seemed 
a bit earthy. You will surely get a great thing from him. He can do 
anything^ and don't know himself what he can do. He is latent with all 
manner of possibilities and the Boston people need not be afraid that 
he will be eccentric or impressionistic, or anything that is not perfectly 
serious and non-experimental when it comes to work of this kind. 

Sargent had entered on this entirely new phase of his career 
at the age of thirty-four. Those who saw the exhibition at the 
Academy in 1926, and bore in mind that another exhibition 
of his paintings was being held in America, were astonished at 
the extent of his work. Few considered, or indeed knew, that 
concurrently with the work exhibited, he had during 
twenty-six years been engaged on this stupendous decoration 
at the Boston Library. 

* E. V. Lucas, "Edwin Austen Abbey," i., p. 231. 


When Abbey returned to England he sought for a place 
where he could work undisturbed; Broadway had disposed him 
towards the West Country. Wanderings through the counties 
of Oxford, Gloucester and Worcester finally brought him to 
Fairford, where in Morgan Hall he saw the very house he wanted. 
This was in the autumn of 1890. He entered into a lease for 
twenty-one years and at once began the construction in the 
grounds of a studio 64 feet long by 40 feet by 25 feet. There 
in November, 1891, Sargent joined him, and in cordial asso- 
ciation carried out much of the preliminary work for the Boston 
Library designs. 

Sargent meanwhile had remained in New York through the 
summer of 1890, pushing on with studies for his decorative 
scheme, and filling up the intervals with painting a number of 
portraits. The portraits of Mr. George Peabody of Salem, Mr. 
and Mrs. and Miss Brooks, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Mrs. 
Francis Dewey, Mrs. Augustus P. Loring, Miss Katherine Pratt, 
Edwin Booth, Joseph Jefferson, Laurence Barrett and a study 
of Carmencita singing, belong to this period. 

It was also during this visit that he painted the well-known 
picture of Miss Beatrice Goelet, which with the portrait of 
the Hon, Laura Lister constitute Sargent's two most ambitious 
and successful renderings of childhood. Both pictures have 
been the subject of unmeasured praise. Both have been ex- 
tolled as expressions of the spirit of childhood. Of the picture 
of the Hon. Laura Lister Mrs. Meynell goes so far as to say 
that "it takes its place with the most beautiful painted in all 
centuries." In America the Goelet portrait was the subject 
of discerning praise from the pen of Mrs. Van Rensselaer, and 
when later the same critic wrote an appreciation of Sargent's 
picture Mother and Child (Mrs. Davis and her son) she 
received from Sargent the following letter: 

33, Tite Street, 


My dear Mrs. Van Rensselaer, ec ' * 

I am sure you must be the author of an article that has been 
sent me from N.Y. in which Mrs. Davis' picture receives very high 


praise, because it seems to have touched a sentiment in the writer 
like what you expressed about the Goelet baby, and very few writers 
give me credit for insides so to speak. I am of course grateful to you 
for writing, but especially for feeling in the way you do, for it would 
seem that sometimes at any rate for you, I hit the mark. 

Please believe me, 

Yours sincerely, 
John S. Sargent. 

I feel as if I ought to have written a much longer letter to give 
you any idea of how much pleasure and what kind of pleasure you 
have given me. 

The letter shows on the part of Sargent a greater sensi- 
bility to criticism than the public gave him credit for. As a 
matter of fact, praise, if it was discriminating, brought him 
the keenest pleasure. He was much too human and much too 
humble to pass it by or let it slip through his fingers; he 
clung to it with the inner satisfaction that belongs by habit 
to the diffident; and here was a point raised as to which he 
was sensitive. He was already perhaps a little tired of the 
hackneyed view that his portraiture was deficient in feeling, 
that he was a pitiless revealer of his sitter's defects. It was 
therefore something to the good that when he set out to paint 
childhood he could satisfy critics on the look-out for emotional 
quality in his work. No artist deficient in tenderness of feeling, 
no artist not gifted with the power of finely apprehending the 
particular significance of childhood could have painted these two 
pictures. They have not got the direct and winning artlessness 
of the children of Bronzino, Franz Hals, Holbein or Velasquez — 
it might even be said that in their childishness they are precocious, 
or should we say sophisticated — but they possess the same ex- 
quisite delicacy and distinction, the same subtlety of charm 
that we see in the Fortune Tellers or the Lady Mary FitzPatrick 
of Reynolds. 

Sargent had a studio in New York in Twenty-Third Street, 
and here he painted the picture of Carmencita. Carmencita 
was a Spanish dancer recently arrived from Europe and holding 
the public of New York enthralled by her beauty and sensational 



dancing. She consented to pose to Sargent. He soon found 
that he had undertaken a perilous sitter. She was a primitive 
and untutored creature, straight from the cabarets of Spain. 
Civilization had put few fetters about her. She was reminiscent 
of the sources from which his picture of El Jaleo had been 
drawn. In mood she was wayward, now sullen and subdued, 
then breaking into tempests of anger and impatience, ready to 
smash anything that was to hand, or, again, sinking into an 
entirely childish readiness to be diverted or amused. She made 
no pretence of liking to have her portrait painted. She found 
posing intolerable. Movement was the essence of her existence, 
why forego it and be bored and insufferably constrained to please 
an artist and be recorded on canvas ? Sargent had to exercise 
his ingenuity; "he used to paint his nose red to rivet her childish 
interest upon himself, and when the red nose failed he would 
fascinate her by eating his cigar. This performance was the 
dancer's delight."* 

Sargent was anxious that Mrs. Gardner should see this 
"bewilderingly superb creature," and asked if she would give a 
party at her house in Fifth Avenue. "Could you," he wrote, 
"have her at your house in Fifth Avenue? If so, might I go 
and see whether the floor or carpet would be good, and whether 
there is a chandelier against which she would have to break the 
head ? It would have to be about twelve o'clock at night, after 
the performance." In the end the party was given by Mrs. 
Gardner at the studio of William Chase the painter, at Tenth 
Street, New York. The fee paid to Carmencita was 150 dollars. 
Mrs. de Glehn, then Miss Jane Emmett, was present with her 
sister, and has described the scene. Sargent, whom she had never 
seen before, was seated on the floor. The studio was dimly 
lighted; at the end of the room was just such a scene as he had 
represented in El Jaleo. Carmencita, a light thrown on her 
from below, now writhing like a serpent, now with an arrogant 
elegance, strutted the stage with a shadowy row of guitarists 
in the background strumming their heady Spanish music. She 
had arrived at the studio with her hair frizzled and her face 

* W. H. Downes v " John Sargent," p. 31, citing H. J. Brock, New York Times. 


loaded with powder and paint. Sargent, as her impresario for 
the occasion, smoothed her hair flat with a wet brush; he even 
applied a wash rag to her cosmetics.* This was carrying the 
office of stage manager too far; she resented it and boiled over. 
Tact was then required to cool her down and induce her to dance, 
but her "scenes" were short-lived. Before she had danced 
many steps Mrs. de Glehn saw her throw a rose at her painter as 
he sat in the half-light on the floor. He picked it up, and from 
his buttonhole it ratified the peace. 

Some years later Carmencita came to London, and Sargent 
gave a party at 31, Tite Street, at which she danced in his studio. 
She was now married to the leader of her guitar orchestra, living 
in lodgings in Bloomsbury and dancing for a large salary at one 
of the music halls. Mr. Jacomb Hood,f who visited her, found 
her occupying, with her husband, a single bed-sitting-room and 
cooking together their meal on the fireplace; her portmanteau 
and one chair were the only seating accommodation. But she 
was no longer the Carmencita of New York. Time had abated 
her wildness, though not her beauty, and civilization had subdued 
the fire of her spirit, though not her grace — she was tamed — she 
danced at charity concerts, and in her steps she deferred to the 
standards of British conventionality. 

The picture painted by Sargent was exhibited at the Society 
of i\merican Artists at New York in 1890, at the Royal Academy 
in 1 891, and at the Exhibition of American Art in 1919, and it now 
hangs in the Luxembourg. Carmencita stands with her right foot 
advanced, her right arm akimbo, in a dress of orange, black and 
silver, a silk scarf falls across her breast and is tied at the left hip, 
on which her left hand rests. The attitude suggests a challenge 
to the guitarists to play, to the audience to applaud. She is 
balanced on her feet with all the lightness of an accomplished 
dancer, in a moment the orange skirt will swirl, and the lissom 
figure spring into vehement action. In no other picture by 
Sargent is the suggestion of suspended movement so direct 
and convincing. In the treatment of the dress, as in the 

* W. H. Downes, "John Sargent," p. 31, citing H. J. Brock, New York Times. 
t Jacomb Hood, "With Brush and Pencil," p. 313. 


fine portrait of Mrs. Leopold Hirsch (1902), there is a very 
definite reminder of Velasquez. The shimmer of silver, the 
notation of pattern, the suggestion of texture, the crispness of 
touch, are reminiscent of the portrait of Philip in the National 
Gallery. The dress rustles, the light plays in its folds, the whole 
figure is alert with vitality. If the pose verges on the theatrical, 
and the expression is wanting in the primitive emotions of El 
Jaleo, and if the tones of the flesh are less subtle than in some 
of his pictures, none the less it lives as a masterly expression 
of the artist's skill. Sargent himself expressed regret to Miss 
Heyneman that he should be represented at the Luxembourg 
by this picture. When asked why, he said: "After all, it is little 
more than a sketch. ,, 

When the picture was exhibited in New York an admirer 
offered £600. Sargent said to de Glehn: "I was unable to accept 
it as it had cost me more than that to paint." "Cost you 
more! how do you mean?" "Why, in bracelets and things." 
To such an extent had this capricious beauty to be coaxed before 
she would fulfil her promise to pose. 

Chapter XVI 

IN the autumn of 1890 Sargent and his sister, after a year's 
absence, returned to Europe, going direct to Marseilles, 
where they joined Mrs. Sargent and Miss Emily; the whole 
party proceeding together to Egypt and arriving at Alexandria 
on Christmas Eve. Thence they went to Cairo, where Sargent 
hired a studio and painted, among other pictures, the nude full- 
length of an Egyptian girl, now owned by Mr. Dering. Here 
they found Mrs. Farquharson and her stepson Mr. Joseph 
Farquharson, who were living on a dahebiah owned by Mrs. 
Farquharson's brother. After a month at Cairo, Sargent and 
his family, with the Farquharsons, embarked on one of Gage's 
steamers and went up the Nile to Luxor and Philae. Sargent 
himself with a dragoman made an expedition to Fayoum. 

His main purpose in Egypt was to familiarize himself with 
the legend and myth, the history and archaeology, the symbols 
and religion of the country, and thus furnish himself with the 
material for the first stage of his Boston decoration. With his 
natural aptitude for mastering the essential, he came away at the 
end of this visit equipped with all the knowledge his exact- 
ing mind could require. The character and significance of 
the Egyptian gods, their relation to their time, their influ- 
ence in history, the legends to which they had given origin, 
and the symbolism by which they were surrounded, had now 
only to be sifted and sorted in his brain, that they might be 
adapted for pictorial embodiment. Just as Gustave Flaubert 
had visited Carthage and settled down to master the archaeology 
necessary for "Salammbo," so had Sargent pored over the monu- 
ments and lore of Egypt that he might correctly interpret the 
spirit and significance of the pagan deities. His accuracy has 
never been questioned. 

In April the family crossed over to Athens, whence Sargent 



set out with a dragoman for Olympia and Delphi. Every morn- 
ing he was in the saddle at 4 a.m., only ending the day's journey 
when night again fell. He rode through miles of country 
carpeted with wild flowers. Greece was displaying its beauties 
and enchantments, and revealing its magic vistas in the allure- 
ment of a golden spring. Long before his return to Athens he 
had filled up every available corner of canvas and paper that 
he had taken for oil and water-colour. From Athens the family 
went to Constantinople. Here, by bribing an official, he 
obtained leave to do a sketch of the interior of Santa Sophia, 
and by the shores of the Bosphorus where the Judas trees 
were in full bloom he did several water-colours. The study 
of Santa Sophia* was made in the early morning, and is one of 
the most purely atmospheric canvases which he painted. The 
picture has charm and mystery, and probably few better examples 
exist of his power for rendering the structure and spacing of 
a building with the minimum of definition. In two other interior 
studies, St. Mark's, Venice: the Pavement] and Interior of the 
Palazzo Ducale, Venice^ he has succeeded equally well in 
rendering structure, proportion and space; but in these the means 
employed are comparatively matter of fact, they have not the 
same atmospheric effect, the craftsmanship is consummate, though 
they are less suffused with a mood. For that we must turn to 
An Hotel Room& My Dining-Room \\ and the masterly picture of 
Mr. and Mrs. Vickers, A Dinner Table at Night. \ From Con- 
stantinople the family came west by Vienna, and in July (1891) 
were at San Remo at the Villa Ormond. In August his sister 
Violet was married in Paris to Monsieur Ormond. It was not 
till the autumn of 1891 that he was back in England after an 
absence, save for a brief visit in June, of two years. Mrs. Sargent 
and Miss Emily spent that winter at Nice, and the following 
winter in Tunis, returning to London in the spring of 1893. 

* The picture owned by Mr. C. J. Conway was exhibited at the Royal Academy 
Memorial Exhibition, 1926, No. 329. 
f Owned by Miss Sargent, 
t Owned by Viscount Lascelles, K.G., D.S.O. 
§ Owned by Mrs. Ormond. 
|| Owned by W. G. de Glehn, Esq., A.R.A. 
\ Owned by V. C. Vickers, Esq. 


It was then that a lease of 10, Carlyle Mansions, Cheyne Walk, 
was taken for Mrs. Sargent and Miss Emily, close to Sargent's 
own house in Tite Street. In the years to follow a large part 
of his home life was spent with his sister Emily. 

In 1 891 Sargent was represented in the Academy by his 
picture of Carmencita and a portrait of Mrs. Thomas 
Lincoln Manson. The critics were beginning to come over. 
They were falling into line with R. A. M. Stevenson and the 
public was following. Sargent was beginning to be recognized as 
the first of living portrait painters. In London he had formed 
many friendships: Professor Tonks, Mr. D. S. MacColl, Sir 
George Henschel, Mr. and Mrs. L. A. Harrison, Mr. and Mrs. 
Comyns-Carr, Mr. Frederick Jameson, Miss Heyneman, Wilson 
Steer, Sir George and Lady Lewis. He was a frequent visitor 
at Ightham Moat House, which had been leased by Mrs. Palmer, 
where he painted in 1889 the large picture of the " house party" 
playing at bowls, exhibited at the New Gallery in 1890.* Socially 
in London he was greatly sought after. He was becoming 
acclimatized to the conditions, beginning to feel himself at home, 
and being "licked into London shape" had proved a less trying 
process than he had anticipated. He, Whistler and Henry 
James were recognized in the nineties as stars of the first 
magnitude, and though Sargent and James equally and con- 
sistently shunned publicity like the plague, "renown" has a 
tendency to make things easy, to simplify the strangers prob- 
lems, and amplify his area of selection and choice. At the same 
time any one more completely unconscious of his prestige than 
Sargent can hardly be imagined. It coursed and eddied 
about his feet, but he never suffered it to throw him off his 
balance or to disturb the full and even measure of his working 

In November, 1891, he joined Mr. and Mrs. Abbey at 
Morgan Hall, Fairford, and there for certain months in each 
year till 1895 he remained to share the studio and to pursue 
his Boston Library decorations. Mrs. Mead, the mother of 
Mrs. Abbey, was also of the party during the greater part of 

* See ante, p. 84. 



these years, and did much to enhance the contented spirit 
that reigned in this centre of strenuous work. 

Before Sargent's arrival x-\bbey had written to Paris for assist- 
ance, asking that specimen drawings should be sent by students 
who were ready to join the studio at Fairford. Two students 
were chosen, James Finn and Wilfrid de Glehn (A.R.A., 1925). 
Between de Glehn and Sargent began one of Sargent's staunchest 

Work would begin at nine or nine-thirty every morning and 
continue till dark, the studio being divided into a Sargent territo- 
ry and an Abbey territory. An Italian named Colarossi came 
as model for Sargent, and one Demarco, "who had a very 
beautiful head," posed for Abbey. 

Later on a younger model became necessary for Sargent's 
purposes, and an Italian named Inverno was chosen. This was 
the brother of Nicola d'Inverno, who subsequently in 1893 
came to the studio as a model and remained in Sargent's service 
more than twenty years — Nicola will be remembered by everyone 
who visited the studio in Fulham Road. He used to pose for the 
frieze of the prophets and other portions of the decorative work 
and was constantly in attendance, assisting in the preparation 
of the "relief" work for the Boston Library, and looking after 
the mechanical accessories of the artist's work, accompanying 
Sargent abroad and taking charge of brushes, canvases and paints. 
Nicola, who had come from Clerkenwell and was in his spare 
moments a pugilist, used with Sargent to go by the name of the 
"Clerkenwell Chicken." Occasionally he would appear with 
a black eye as the trophy of an overnight contest, when Sargent 
would say: "Ah, I see we have met another man who is slightly 
the better." Sargent paid for Nicola's training at a gymnasium 
and would assist him financially when, as not infrequently 
happened, he was unsuccessful in some venture on the Turf. 
Nicola wrote his recollections of Sargent in the Boston Sunday 
Advertiser ', February 7, 1926, and concluded: "Every hour I 
spent in his service will be a precious memory for ever. The 
world calls him a great, I know him to be a good, man." 

One day a week, occasionally more often, Sargent, who kept 


a horse at Fairford, would hunt either with the Heythrop, the 
Warwickshire or the North Cotswold Hounds. Those who only 
saw him in later years in London would hesitate to associate 
him with this particular form of activity and recreation, but it 
was a source of great enjoyment to him. In the first years of his 
London life he even kept a horse and rode regularly in the Row; 
and it is difficult to recognize him as the author of the follow- 
ing letter to Sir George Henschel, to whom, when he himself 
was leaving London, he lent his horse: 

I will give instructions about the mare's cribbing, she must either 
be muzzled or wear a cribbing strap, both of which she possesses. 
You will find the mare rather sluggish in the streets and inclined to 
gallop much too fast in the row. You had better use my saddle and 
bridle which has a very strong curb. She is shod by Messrs. . . . 
with a rational shoe and I would like her always to be shod by them. 

This diagnosis of the mare's characteristics proved correct 
save on the one point of sluggishness in the streets, and when, 
like Hercules with Mr. Thornton in Mr. Sponge's "Sporting 
Tour/' the mare showed tendencies to go through plate-glass 
windows, Sir George thought it time to return the horse to its 
owner. Sargent was fearless across country, but he was not an 
accomplished horseman. His departure to the meet was viewed 
with anxiety: his return in the evening hailed with relief. He 
had many falls. None displayed more nervousness than Co- 
larossi, who so long as Sargent was absent at the hunt remained 
in a state of profound apprehension. Describing what used to 
occur Colarossi said, not without pride: "Sometimes he not 
come off the horse at all." 

At one time Sargent took lessons at the Kensington Riding 
School, advised so to do by Mr. Joseph Farquharson, to whom 
he had confided his deficiencies in his early hunting days, saying 
that he had fallen off when his horse had jumped into a field and 
fallen off again when the horse jumped out of the field. As the 
result of these lessons a cavalcade including Mr. Jacomb Hood, 
Linley Sambourne, Shakespeare the singer, and Sir George 
Henschel would issue from the streets of London on Sunday 


mornings and clatter through Putney for a gallop in Richmond 

Sargent's hunting was responsible for one of the oddest 
episodes in his career. It was shortly before Christmas, 1891. 
Towards the end of the day he was riding homeward. He found 
himself in a field of winter wheat, a part of which he had to cross 
in order to reach a bridle path. 

He was no agriculturist; he probably would have found it 
difficult to distinguish between a field of potatoes and a field of 
turnips. In all ignorance and innocence, therefore, he continued 
his way. His movements had been observed; through the 
twilight the owner of the winter wheat advanced upon him and 
without preliminaries launched out into a torrent of low abuse. 
Sargent was completely surprised. He dismounted, and as the 
man drew near began to apologize for his mistake, offering to 
make good any damage he had done. Far from being pacified 
by his courtesy, the farmer became more incensed. He worked 
himself into a frenzy of rage and loaded Sargent with every 
variety of threat and malediction. He was well known in the 
neighbourhood as a surly and foul-mouthed fellow, and Sargent, 
deeply agitated, mastered his temper and moved away, mounted 
his horse and rode home. That evening he described what had 
happened; Mrs. Abbey states that he was obviously in the grip of 
an agitating distress. At intervals he would return to the subject 
and discuss what he ought to do. For two days he was uneasy 
and silent and could do no work. Late on the second day he 
went out. Towards evening of that day Mrs. Abbey was return- 
ing from a walk. Her road led past the gate of the house where 
the farmer lived. As she approached, a figure walked rapidly 
down the path; drawing nearer she saw in the dusk that it was 
Sargent. When he joined her he exclaimed: "I've done it — 
I've done it." He was calmer than he had been at any time 
since the adventure. He went on to tell her that after looking 
at the thing from every side and turning it over and over in his 
mind he had settled what he ought to do; he had gone to the 
farmer's door, knocked, and when the farmer appeared, had said: 
"Come outside and defend yourself, I am going to thrash you." 


The farmer called on his household to witness the assault, and 
then, answering the challenge, engaged in a struggle in the course 
of which Sargent appears to have carried out his threat. Such 
was the amazing story told as he and Mrs. Abbey walked home. 

The farmer at once sought the help of the law. It was 
doubtful at first whether he would proceed by summons before 
a magistrate or by a civil action for damages. Sargent put the 
matter in the hands of Sir George Lewis. On January 21 Sir 
George wrote that the farmer had issued a writ for damages. 
He advised payment into court. £50 was considered adequate. 
The farmer accepted the sum, and proceedings went no further; 
and there, so far as Sargent was concerned, this curious episode 
ended. Later an unexpected turn was given to it by an invita- 
tion from the farmer to Sargent asking him to dine. Sargent 
declined, but as a reconciliation was in the air de Glehn and Finn 
took his place, and found the farmer if not ready to forgive, 
at any rate determined effectually to achieve forgetfulness by 

Legend has it that Sargent spent the interval between the 
insult and the assault in taking lessons in boxing. This scarcely 
needs denial; he spent the interval, it is true, in deep perplexity. 
His sense of justice, always lively, but balanced, had been out- 
raged, but his indignation had cooled and had been replaced 
by a reasoned view of what under the circumstances it was right 
to do. He acted in a manner which was unspeakably distasteful 
to him, driven forward by the conviction that no other course 
was honourably open to him. It was in no spirit of revenge that 
he acted, it was probably with no sense of personal grievance, 
but on a conclusion of judgment arrived at on a point of honour. 
It was, in fact, the outcome of that rigid rectitude of mind which 
was habitual to him. We may look on it as evidence of character 
that he should have allowed the first heat of his anger to cool, 
and that then, after conferring with his conscience like any cadi 
seated under a tree, he should have thought himself bound to 
mete out retribution. His action, therefore, was no "wild form 
of justice," but a lively expression of the moral instinct embedded 
in his character. 



North End of the Hall 

Ceiling: Pagan religions of countries surrounding Palestine. 

Lunette: Children of Israel, oppressed by pagan neighbours, expressing 

their dependence on the True God. 
Frieze: The Hebrew prophets, typifying the progress of the Jews in 

religious thought, with final expectation of the Messiah. 


Left: The downfall of paganism, as preached by Hebrew prophets. 
Centre: The Hebrew ideal — the chosen people protected by Jehovah, 

through its observance of the Law. 
Right: The Messianic era, foretold by Hebrew prophets. 


At the South End of the Hall 

Lunette: Doctrine of the Trinity. 

Frieze and Crucifix: Doctrine of the Redemption. 

Ceiling and Niches: Doctrine of the Incarnation. 


Left: Heaven. 

Centre: The Judgment. 

Right: Hell. 


On the East Wall 

Left Panel: The Synagogue. 
Right Panel: The Church.* 

* This analysis is taken from "Handbook of the Boston Public Library." 

Chapter XVII 

NEITHER Sargent's visits to America nor his work for the 
Boston Library hadshaken his preference for London as a 
permanent home. The tie of allegiance to America was 
one thing, but Europe was necessary to his artistic life. From 
London he could easily visit his favourite countries and in Tite 
Street he was in close proximity to his mother and sister Emily. 

When Sargent began his career as a portrait painter in London 
he was classed by the public and not a few of the critics as 
an Impressionist. This was inevitable. He hailed from the 
home of Impressionism; and London was still under the spell of 
"Finish."* If treatment was summary and abbreviated, and 
the subject suggested instead of stated with all possible explicit- 
ness, the painter was held in the early nineties to be sinning against 
the light. It was all very well to sow artistic wild oats in Paris, 
the harvest in London must be something to which the public 
was accustomed. Anything that showed a lack of " finish" was 
suspect. Sargent's bravura and vitality of technique were alone 
enough to stamp him in the popular mind as an Impressionist. 

Few labels have led to more misunderstanding; applied in the 
seventies to a special aspect of painting, it was used later to 
cover qualities which had nothing to do with those which the 
word had been coined to describe. In Paris the word had a 
specialized sense; it did not denote that Impressionism common 
to much fine painting. It denoted a peculiar treatment of 
light, and was less concerned with focus, the relation of planes, 
and actual form. 

In the following letters Sargent gives his own idea of the 
particular significance and value of Impressionism. The first 
letter, addressed to Mr. D. S. MacColl, was written in 191 2: 

* See ante, p. 87. 


My dear MacColl, 

I daresay I muddled what I said about Impressionism last 
night and perhaps this is a clear definition of what I think Monet 
would mean by the word, "The observation of the colour and value 
of the image on our retina of thoseobjects or partsof objects of which 
we are prevented by an excess or deficiency of light from seeing the 
surface or local colour." 

Of course to a very astigmatic or abnormal eyesight the whole 
field of vision might offer phenomena for the notation of an impression- 
ist, but to the average vision it is only in extreme cases of light and 
dark, that the eye is conscious of seeing something else than the object, 
in other words conscious of its own medium — that something else is 
what the impressionist tries to note exactly. . . . 

Yrs. sincerely, 

John S. Sargent. 

The two letters which follow were written to Mr. Jameson, 
a close friend of Sargent and the author of a volume on art 
which forms the text of the letters. 

31, Tite Street, 

Chelsea, S.W., 

My dear Jameson, March 20th («9" or '9")- 

I have been readingyourbookwithgreatenjoyment, and feel 
as if my ideas and my vocabulary had gone through a very satisfactory 
spring cleaning and I like the opposition of your clear processes of 
reasoning and analysis as far as that will take one and the ultimate 
mystery that you lead one up to from the different directions. 

There is one point only that I should quibble at and that is your 
use of the word Impressionism and Impressionist, 

These words were coined in Paris at a particular moment when 
Claude Monet opened the eyes of a few people to certain phenomena 
of optics, and they have a very precise meaning which is not the one 
that you use them for, so that in the exact sense or to a Frenchman 
Watts' saying "All art is Impressionism" would be a misuse of words. 

"Impressionism" was the name given to a certain form of observa- 
tion when Monet not content with using his eyes to see what things 
were or what they looked like as everybody had done before him, 
turned his attention to noting what took place on his own retina (as 
an oculist would test his own vision). 

It led to his doing 50 pictures of the same subject under varying 
degrees of light and the phenomena which he recorded would be more 
or less apparent when there was excess or deficiency of light and the 


fact that he is astigmatic accounts for his having an excellent subject 
for his own discoveries in this line. 

A person with normal eyesight would have nothing to know in the 
way of "Impressionism" unless he were in a blinding light or in the 
dusk or dark. 

If you want to know what an impressionist tries for (by the way 
Degas said there is only one Impressionist "Claude Monet") go out 
of doors and look at a landscape with the sun in your eyes and alter 
the angle of your hat brim and notice the difference of colour in dark 
objects according to the amount of light you let into your eyes — you 
can vary it from the local colour of the object (if there is less light) to 
something entirely different which is an appearance on your own 
retina when there is too much light. 

It takes years to be able to note this accurately enough for painting 
purposes and it would only seem worth while to people who would 
wear the same glasses as the painter and then it has the effect of for 
the first time coming across a picture that looks like nature and gives 
the sense of living — for these reasons Monet bowled me over — and he 
counts as having added a new perception to Artists as the man did 
who invented perspective. 

This observation or faculty does not make a man an Artist any 
more than a knowledge of perspective does — it is merely a refining of 
one's means towards representing things and one step further away 
from the hieroglyph by adding to the representation of a thing the 
conscious Will of the Medium through which one sees it. 

One of these days some genius will turn it to account and make it 
part of the necessary equipment of an Artist. 

For the present in its exact sense "impressionism" does not come 
within the scope of your considerations. Of course I agree with what 
you say, given the rough and tumble and un-Jameson like use of the 

You can make impression stand for whatever you like but not add 
-sm or -ist without being challenged by the astigmatic. 

Yours sincerely, j 0HN s> Sargent. 

31, Tite Street, 

Chelsea, S.W., 
My dear Jameson, April yd (191 1 or 1912). 

Thanks for your kind letter. 
I am glad you take my bit of special pleading good naturedly. 
I was afraid after having posted my letter that I had not made clear 
that I was not quarrelling with what you said about Impressionism 
but only defining the term. 



Of course your meaning is the general accepted one and the right 
one in the context as long as the precise meaning is so little known — 
it will be years before the idea itself will have become familiar even to 
most painters — when it is, there will have to be a foot note in your 

The habit of breaking up one's colour to make it brilliant dates 
from further back than Impressionism — Couture advocates it in a 
little book called "Causeries d'Atelier" written about i860 — it is part 
of the technique of Impressionism but used for quite a different 

Couture, Delacroix, Orchardson break up their colour but they are 
not Impressionists. Yours sincerely, 

John S. Sargent. 

In these letters there are phrases not easy to interpret. For 
instance, the writer has spoken of the retina as though it could be 
watched and studied as a separable portion of the organ of 
vision. "Adding to the representation of a thing the conscious 
will of the medium through which one sees it" implies more than 
was meant by Sir Joshua Reynolds when he spoke of "seeing 
with the dilated eye." It suggests that the retina intervenes 
between the spectator and the scene to be observed, and that 
on it, as on a stained glass window through which light is trans- 
mitted, changes take place which can be studied and chronicled. 
The retina performs no such function. The observer cannot 
disintegrate the process of vision, nor will any "conscious will" 
enable him to analyze the office of the retina, any more than it 
would enable him to trace the operation of a mental perception 
on the substance of the brain. The phrase should perhaps be 
taken as suggesting no more than a heightened consciousness in 
the process of observation at a given moment. But, however 
that may be, the deep interest and the true interest of the letters 
lie in the revelation they afford of Sargent's attitude to the 
quality of Impressionism as shown in the work of Monet. He 
recognizes that here is an epoch in the history of painting, a 
point of departure, and the disclosure of a new possibility in 
pictorial art. Not, it should be noted, so much through the 
discovery of a new technical process, as by the rendering in paint 
of phenomena which had hitherto eluded the vision of painters. 


Was he at all affected by the novel vision of which he was 
so keenly aware ? 

Can it be traced in his own work ? 

To answer the question we must estimate these influences 
and their novelty more exactly. What did they, in effect, consist 
of, and what was the novelty they imported ? The introduction 
of light into a picture had been an aim of many schools of paint- 
ing, notably of the Dutch; but what no school had hitherto 
adequately apprehended was the relation between colour and 
light. Colour had been regarded as an attribute of the object, 
and not the product of scintillant vibrations transmitted to the 
eye. In the painting of Monet there was revealed the truth 
which science had already established, that colour varies with 
light, and differs from moment to moment as the scale of light 
alters. It was in order to arrest this fugitive quality of colour 
and its flickering inconstancy that Monet would multiply his 
representations of the same object, as when he painted fifty 
canvases of one haystack and reiterated his studies of Rouen 
Cathedral. Sargent used to say that when he visited Monet 
at the Savoy Hotel, he found him surrounded by some ninety 
canvases — each one the record of a momentary effect of light over 
the Thames. When the effect was repeated and an oppor- 
tunity occurred for finishing the picture, the effect had generally 
passed away before the particular canvas could be found. 

It was no permanent attribute of the scene that Monet tried 
to express, but its momentary colour aspect under various degrees 
of illumination. He set out on his career as a painter without 
any preconceived idea or scientific theory, but gifted with an 
exceptional power of vision he painted what he saw, the visible 
world drenched in light and ceaslessly changing in colour as the 
light ebbed or strengthened. Gradually and pari passu, with his 
apprehension of the scientific truth, he developed a technique 
which enabled him to catch and render this elusive quality. 
Mr. MacColl, in an illuminating article* on the subject, has 
referred to the method of the Impressionists as "a new handling 

* See "Encyclopaedia Britannica," article "Impressionism and Modern Art," by 
the same author. 


of colour by small broken touches in place of the large flowing 
touches characteristic of Monet," and, summarizing the charac- 
teristics of these painters, he goes on to say that the ideas dominat- 
ing the school were: (i) Abolition of conventional brown tonality. 
But all browns, in the fervour of this revolt, went the way of 
conventional brown, and all ready-made mixtures like the 
umbers, orchres, siennas, were banished from the palette. Black 
itself was condemned. (2) The idea of the spectrum, which, as 
exhibiting the series of primary or pure colours, directed the 
reformed palette. (3) These colours being laid on the canvas 
with as little previous mixture on the palette as possible to 
maintain a maximum of luminosity, and being fused by touch 
on the canvas as little as possible for the same reason.* Here 
we have a terse statement of the Impressionist method as 
practised by Monet. 

Thus it would appear that Monet has gone further than his 
predecessors in a certain visual discernment, and that his genius 
has enabled him to evolve a technique which will render on 
canvas this field of luminous notation. Broad sweeps of the 
brush and large areas of colour varying only in tone have been 
replaced by lesser touches of less mixed colour, producing on the 
canvas a closer adherence to the colour sensations experienced 
when contemplating the object which gave rise to them. As a 
result of this there certainly entered into pictorial art a new 
freshness and vitality. Every object being rendered on the 
canvas under the magic influence of light, there resulted a 
greater unity of impression. Light and shade were brought closer 
together in tone, the violent contrasts of the old chiaroscuro 
were dispensed with. Definition gave place to mystery, scin- 
tillation and iridescence were added to the rendering of colour. 
Tactile values, it is true, tended as a consequence to be relegated 
to a secondary position; but the gain to art, as Sargent points 
out, was a lasting one, permanently enriching the resources at 
the command of the painter. Mr. Harold Speed has defined 

* It will be observed that Mr. MacColl has not included broken colour as an 
essential part of the Impressionist technique. At the same time, the fact must not 
be lost sight of that broken colour was made use of from time to time, and would 
still in some quarters be regarded as even essential to a true Impressionist picture. 


the extent to which the Impressionists have varied the technique 
of Turner, who profoundly influenced Monet and Pissarro when 
they visited London in 1871. "Turner's method," he writes, 
"had been to lay on with large masses of pure colour, and 
when dry work over them thinly with other pure colours, one 
showing through the other. The method of putting colours 
down side by side and letting them blend* as they came to the 
eye was the invention of the Impressionists, and added greatly 
to the vividness of the mixtures and wonderfully extended the 
capacity of pigments to represent light effects. ,, 

I wished to obtain, if possible, some indication of M. Monet's 
own views on Sargent's letter to Mr. Jameson and on the Im- 
pressionist position generally. I had the good fortune to find 
Claude Monet at home on an afternoon in May, 1926. I made 
the pilgrimage to Giverny, supported by a letter of introduction 
from M. Helleu. It was an afternoon of broad sunshine. The 
garden which the painter had cultivated and watched with 
parental fondness for forty years was rich with the colour of 
spring flowers. A broad path led down from the house to a 
gateway opening on to a road. On the other side of the road, 
surrounded by high poplars, lay the stretch of water in which 
Monet cultivated every species of lily. Spanning the water was 
the bridge which has figured so often on his canvases. Beyond 
this again lay the meadowland bordering the wide waters of the 
Seine. At the moment Monet was conversing in his garden 
with two devout visitors from Japan, who presently took their 
leave with reverential obeisances. He was now free to peruse 
the letter from M. Helleu, and shortly turned to me with a 
cordial invitation to enter the house. We sat in the long room 
on whose walls hung four tiers of unframed canvases, dating 
from the earliest to the latest years of the master's work. The 
room was simply furnished, the walls of pine; green blinds 
tempered the strength of the sun, but through the open window 
came the scent from the garden, and the hum of bees. At this 
date Monet, born in 1840, was eighty-five years of age, but the 
activity of his compact frame, the vigour of his voice and the 

* This in effect constitutes broken colour. 


alertness of his mind pointed to an astonishing discrepancy 
between constitution and age. He struck a visitor as at once gay 
and kindly, keen in his wit, and emphatic in his prejudices, wholly 
simple and unaffected, with something rustic in his bearing. 
None could have failed to notice the touch of dandyism visible 
in the cuffs of ruffled lawn, which projected from the sleeves of 
his rough summer clothes, nor the fineness of his hands, nor the 
curious quality of his eye, which, magnified behind the lens of 
powerful spectacles, seemed to possess some of the properties 
of a searchlight and be ready to seize on the innermost secrets 
of a visible world. When Sargent's letter, of which an accurate 
translation had been made, was read to him he seemed frankly 
nonplussed, and he asked that it might be read again. A second 
reading found him obviously flattered by the references to him- 
self,* but at a loss to recognize what was said as descriptive of his 
work. He went on to say: 

L'Impressionisme ce n'est que la sensation immediate. Tous les 
grands peintres etaient plus ou moins impressionistes. C'est surtout 
une question d'instinct. Tout cela est plus simple que ne le croit Sar- 
gent. Le mot Impressionisme a ete invente par les journaux saty- 
riques comme raillerie, a la grande colere de Manet. J'ai fait beau- 
coup de mal, car j'ai ete un bien mauvais exemplef . . . ce qu'il 
faut c'est la fraicheur de sensation. Oui il-y-a la Decoloration des 
tons et dans de passage d'un ton a un antre il-y-a une nuance. Par ex- 
emple entre le bleu et le jaune il-y-a quelque chose qui se passe qu'on 
peut exprimer dans la peinture. II est exact que le soleil decompose 
tout; ainsi les fleurs sont plus jolies par temps, gris, 

(this a propos of the passage in Sargent's letter to Mr. Jameson, 
in which he refers to the effect of an excess of light). M. 
Monet said that formerly painters had used one tube of paint 
for the shadow and another for the light, that was over and 
done with. 

* In a previous letter to me, Monet had said: "Je vous envoie deux lettres de 
Sargent qui vous confirmeront l'admiration qu'il avait pour moi, ce dont je reste tres 

t This was a consideration very present to his mind; in a letter of August 25, 
1926, Madame Monet (his daughter-in-law), writing at his instance, when he was 
too ill to write, said: "II est du reste plus en plus desol6, d'avoir ete la cause in- 
volontaire de son nom d'Impressionisme." 


He then turned to recollections of Sargent: 

J'ai recontre pour la premiere fois Sargent et Helleu chez Durand 
Ruel Rue de la Paix vers 1876. Sargent s'est precipite sur moi en me 
disant. Est ce vraiment vous-vous-Claude Monet ? Puis il m'a 
invite a diner, rendez vous au Cafe de la Paix, il avait plusieurs amis 
avec lui. Je leur ai indique le Cafe du Helder, et la nous avons 
demande un salon particulier. Malheureusement il y avait plusieurs 
tableaux de moi — j'etais confus en entrant, ayant honte que Sargent 
etles autres pussent penser que c'etait a cause de mes tableaux que 
j'avais indique le Cafe Helder. 

After that they remained friends till Sargent's death; in 
later years meeting seldom; their lines of life diverging, but 
their interest in one another suffering no eclipse. 

Quand j'allais voir Sargent a Londres (M. Monet continued) 
il retournait beaucoup de ses toiles les jugleant mauvaises. Non — 
Sargent n'aimait pas le fleurs. II disait ce que je n'aime pas dans les 
fleurs c'est qu'elle ne sont pas en harmonie avec les feuilles — II n'etait 
pas un Impressioniste, au sens ou nous employons ce mot, il etait 
trop sous Tinfluence de Carolus Duran. 

Monet had been suffering from his eyesight for several 
months, but pointing to some pictures standing on the floor he 
said: "Dernierement un matin en sortant je me suis apercu que 
j'avais retrouve l'usage de la vue et la perception des tons et des 
teintes comme autrefois, alors j'ai fait ces tableaux." That 
brought our interview to an end. The "temps gris" was 
approaching. The colours of his garden were growing in in- 
tensity, and with a gesture calling my attention to the delicacy 
of tint which the irises had assumed, he said good-bye. 

Some days later, anxious to obtain confirmation of his view 

of Sargent's letter, I sent him a copy and received the following 


Giverny par Vernon, Eure, 

^ ., le 21 Juin % y i6. 

Cher Monsieur, j 

Excusez moi de ne pas vous avoir repondu plus tot mais 

toujours un peu souffrant je ne puis encore vous ecrire moi meme. 

Je ne puis du reste que vous confirmer ce que vous ai dit dans 


notre derniere intervue. Apres avoir relu attentivement votre lettre 
et cellecopieede Sargent je vousavouc que si la traduction dc la lettre 
de Sargent est exacteje tic puis I'approuver d'abord parceque Sargent 
me fait plus grand que je ne suis, que j'ai toujours en horreur des 
theories enrtn que je n'ai que le merite d'avoir peint directement 
devant la nature en cherchant a rendre mes impressions devant les 
effets les plus fugitifs, et je reste desole d'avoir ete la cause du nom 
donne a un groupe dont la plus part n'avait rien d'impressionisme. 

Avec tous mes regrets de ne pouvoir vous donner entiere satisfac- 
tion recevez mes sentiments les meillures. ~ w 

Claude Monet. 

Subsequently Monet sent me a review by Paul Landormy, 
which he had underlined, of a book by Maurice Emmanuel on 
the music of Debussy. The passages that follow certainly bear 
out some of M. Monet's views on his own art. Writing of 
Debussy the reviewer says: 

On se rappelle qu* a un de ses maitres, effare de la liberte de son 
langage harmonique et qui lui demande Mais quelle regie suivez-vous 
done? II repondit. "Mon plaisir." . . . Quand il s'agit de 
discerner le beau, de decider ce qu 'il lui conviendra d'ecrire, il oublie 
tous les principes, toutes les regies et ne prend parti que sur les im- 
pressions de son oreille. . . . Au lieu d'amalgamer les timbres pour 
des effets de masse, il degage Tune de l'autre leurs personalites, ou il 
les marie delicatement sans alterer leur nature propre. Comme les 
peintres impressionistes de ce temps, il peint par couleurs pures, mais 
avec unesobriete delicate, que toute rudesserebute, comme un laideur. 
. . . Mais un impressioniste ne Test jamais que de tendance, de 
volonte, d'intention. II ne peut aller jus qu'au bout de son systeme, 
si du moins il-y-a, systeme. . . . L'impressionisme n'est done, dans 
son fond, qu'une apparence. Mais il est au moins une methode. . . . 

If Monet disclaimed some of the theory and practice which 
Sargent had seen in his work, we must not too readily assume 
that justification for the views which Sargent expressed is 
wanting. Creators are not necessarily the best analysts of their 
own methods. Critics have deduced from Shakespeare or 
Velasquez principles which they would probably assert had never 
been present to their minds. In the case of Monet, too, humility 
would have made him hesitate to claim any great importance 


as a painter. But in any case it remains interesting that Sargent 
should have seen in the work of Monet these qualities, and that he 
regarded them as playing a real part in the development of art. 
One further point remains to be noticed. In his letter to 
Mr. Jameson, Sargent relates that Monet had suffered from 
astigmatism and was therefore chronically in the state of a 
person with normal sight when "in a blinding light or in the 
dusk or dark." He thought the story amusingly significant 
that Monet, having been provided by an oculist with glasses, 
hurled them away after realizing their effect, saying: "If the world 
really looks like that I will paint no more!" The curious thing 
is that Sargent himself suffered from astigmatism and was 
therefore, though in a less degree than Monet, peculiarly equipped 
for studying the phenomena he discusses in these letters. He 
could speak from personal experience. The precise effect of 
astigmatism is, in proportion to its acuteness, to blur and 
confuse. The colour sense is otherwise not affected. We might 
have expected, therefore, to find in his work strong traces 
of the Impressionism which he admired so enthusiastically in 
Monet. It is a point on which opinions will differ. If we take 
Mr. MacColl's three tests,* it would probably be agreed that in 
Sargent's work it is generally true that brown tonality plays a 
very small part. On the other hand, in the use of primary 
colours, and in the application of colour by broken touches, there 
is very much less reason for reckoning him as an Impressionist. 
In his rendering of landscape he probably goes as near to pro- 
ducing the quality of dazzle in a scene as any painter has yet 
succeeded in doing — but that particular atmospheric iridescence 
associated with Monet rarely appears in the work of Sargent. 
That fusion of colours which takes place "under the federating 
power of real light" is not a common characteristic of his art. 
He relies too much on contrast, on the opposition of values, 
on emphasis and accent, on vigour of colouring, and explicit 
form. His painting is characterized by too much force and 
directness; the objects are insistent and vivid, their substance 
and texture are at once perceived. He is a painter essentially 

* See ante, p. 127. 


in three dimensions; in a flash he gives the weight and volume 
of what he sees. The light falls across the scene he paints, but 
it intervenes in a less degree between the scene and the spectator. 
The splendours are seldom veiled. He registers another order 
of beauty than that attained by Monet. Here and there, it is 
true, a water-colour of Venice (notably one in the possession of 
Professor Tonks) will give the aerial effects aimed at by the 
Impressionists, but they are attained by another technique, and 
the effects are more quiescent and less impermanent. On the 
other hand, the nuance of which Monet speaks is often noticeable 
in his painting* the optic occurrence, if the phrase may be 
allowed, at the point of juncture between two colours. In many 
cases he will indicate the outline of an object with a colour which 
is more nearly akin to the colour with which the object is juxta- 

For example, in the picture called Oxen Resting the roof 
is not outlined with the ruddy colour reflected from the tiles, 
but by the blue of the sky, which has the effect of intensifying 
the sense of light, heat and the vibration in the air. Pointing 
to this picture, and indicating this feature, he said: "That is 
how I see it, astigmatism gives that effect." Indeed, he used to 
say half in fun that the French school of Impressionism was due 
to the astigmatism of a man of genius (Monet). In 1888-89, 
as has been already stated, he was making experiments in Im- 
pressionism, and seeing how far he could incorporate into his art 
the lessons to be learnt from it. At Fladbury he was continually 
making quick studies of reflections of what Mr. Frank Rutter has 
described as "our vision of things seen momentarily in the dura- 
tion of a flash of lightning/ ' and the four pictures, St. Martin s 
Summer, Lady Fishing, Claude Monet Sketching (painted at 
Giverny in 1888) and Paul Helleu and His Wife, in which he 
makes use of broken colour, belong to these years. As has been 
pointed out, they are outside the main current of his art. 

We must agree with Claude Monet, that Sargent was never 
an Impressionist in the Parisian sense of the word. When he 
began portrait painting in London, he had inherited, through 

* See ante, p. 129. 


Carolus Duran, certain influences from Velasquez, the relations 
of values, the handling of contrasts of shadow and light, and that 
degree of relief in modelling which is consistent with reticence 
of statement and simplification. But the influence of which he 
was pre-eminently aware was that of Franz Hals. This will be 
more apparent when his methods of teaching are examined. 

Whether the revolution in painting brought about by the 
Impressionists will hereafter appear as decisive as many critics 
would have us believe, is doubtful. What cannot be doubted, 
however, is the change in taste which they effected in England. 
Whereas in the eighties pictures showing traces of French 
influence were looked on by the public and the critics* with 
disfavour, by 1920 a picture which failed to show French 
affinities had comparatively little chance of success among the 
fastidious. Sudden as the changes in fashion and taste are apt 
to be, the history of art might be searched in vain for a swing 
over so complete and abrupt as the last thirty years have wit- 
nessed. A corresponding change has occurred in aesthetic theory. 
A new school of criticism has grown up, whose business it has been 
to formulate fresh canons of appreciation. There is no doubt 
the nerves of dogmatic critics have had a bad shake, and after 
having been forced to eat their words about the Impressionists 
they are now even over-inclined to welcome developments in 
art which startle and surprise. Science and metaphysics have 
been called in to aid. Resemblance, representation, interpreta- 
tion of fact, have had to give way before "significant form," 
abstract relation, "psychological volumes," pattern and the 
"emotional elements of design." The critics have, indeed, kept 
pace with the successors of the Impressionists. The repre- 
sentative quality in a work of art is now judged to be of less 
importance than other more pressing considerations. One of the 
leading critics of the new school has said: "The representative 
element in a work of art may or may not be harmful, always it 
is irrelevant." Obviously if that dogma is sound and is applied 
to the art of Sargent, his work must be considered as mainly 

* Mr. George Moore, one of the first to open the eyes of the English art world to 
the French school, was an enlightened exception to this general statement. 


irrelevant. No wonder they treat Sargent's art as so much 
material in which to flesh their spears. It is, however, impossible 
to ignore that an active section of advanced and cultured 
opinion fails to find in his work many of the qualities that cer- 
tain critics claim to be essential to the highest art. Such must 
be the fate, for the present, of all art which has representa- 
tion as its primary purpose. 

Chapter XVIII 

OVER Sargent in the nineties, what Henry James calls 
"the wand of evocation" is weak, calling up only a few 
echoes, which give faint occasion for conjecture. At a 
moment when the recollections of living men should be enlighten- 
ing, they add, with one happy exception, singularly little to our 
knowledge. When the keenness of Sargent's early contacts with 
English life might have been expected to furnish correspondence, 
only a few notes hastily written have survived to flutter down the 
intervening years. As at all times he is, of course, immersed in 
his work. He is absorbed by the claims of his Boston contract; 
Moloch, Astarte, Osiris and Horus are the company of his imagina- 
tion, and sitters now begin to clamour at his door. The story 
of his life must be read in his output. His days are strenuous 
with work, his recreations are music and the theatre and the 
company of his friends. His personality and his striking appear- 
ance are impressing themselves on a constantly widening circle 
of London life. Four months of the year, into which, owing to 
the English climate, he averred it was necessary to crowd the 
painting of portraits, were invariably spent in London; the late 
autumn and winter down to the year 1895 at Morgan Hall. In 
1892 no work of his was exhibited in London. In 1893 his only 
picture at Burlington House was the portrait of Lady Agnew now 
in the National Gallery of Scotland. Painted in a high key it 
has a quality of prettiness which he seldom affected; it is carefully 
finished. Mauve, light blue and white and the method of their 
combination give the picture a claim of apostolic succession to the 
walls of the Academy. It is a careful portrait, free of any fine 
frenzy, sedately handled, and rather lacking in the force and fire 
of his dazzling technique. It was applauded by the critics, but 
the tide carrying Sargent forward was now breast high, and 
henceforward, though he was to receive plenty of criticism, he 




had rarely during the remainder of his lifetime to experience 
disparagement. At the New Gallery he was represented by his 
full-length portrait of Mrs. Hugh Hammersley and Mrs. 
George Lewis. To this year also belongs a very brilliant study 
of Mrs. Hammersley exhibited at the Royal Academy (1925). 
For sheer animation and vivacity, and as a character study, it 
ranks with the vivid sketch of Vernon Lee. 

About the portrait of Mrs. Hammersley he wrote to his friend 
Edwin Abbey: 

I have begun the routine of portrait painting with anxious relatives 
hanging on my brush. Mrs. Hammersley has a mother and I am 
handicapped by a vexatious accident (I have no luck). The other 
day at the Cafe Royal where I collapsed after seeing the R.A. and the 
New Gallery I was reviving over a chop and a glass of beer when I felt 
a frightful sting on my thigh, dropped my hands on it, struggled with 
hissing flames and smoke, was taken for an unsuccessful anarchist and 
at last extinguished a box of Swedish safety matches, that blazed in 
my pocket. The remains of the box were handed round to reassure 
the Cafe and I went to the nearest apothecary where they buttered 
me up — I have a Turner sunset on my thigh and certain blisters on 
my hands — but I go about and can work in an inferior style — The 
exhibitions are vile. There is a remarkable portrait of a man on ship 
board by Gregory at the R.A. Watts* head of Walter Crane is fine 
and so is his Eve at the Academy very fine. 

Yours in adamant, 

John S. Sargent. 

While these pictures were being discussed in London Sargent 
himself was again in America. It was the year of the Columbian 
Exhibition in Chicago, in the art section of which nine of his 
pictures were shown, including Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth, 
Mrs, Davis and her son, Life Study of Egyptian Girl, 
Miss Dunham, Miss Pratt, Mrs. Inches, and Homer St. Gaudens 
with his Mother. Homer St. Gaudens, then about ten years 
old, is one of the painter's most successful studies of boy- 
hood — naive, ingenuous and charming, thinking the thoughts of 
his age without a flicker of self-consciousness. It is one of the 
pictures — many were to follow — in which the sitter's hands are as 
important as expressions of character as they are in the decorative 


scheme. Few artist have shown an equal ingenuity in the 
disposition of hands, in using them as elements in portraiture, 
and in varying their function in the composition. In his hundreds 
of portraits he rarely repeats himself. The hands he paints carry 
character to their finger-tips, they are vehicles of the spirit, 
pliant media of expression, conveying age and youth, nervous 
energy, resolution, delicate sensibility, or as plainly the dull 
opposites of these qualities. But in every case they are made 
to play a part as important as the eye or any feature of the face. 
It is only necessary to refer to the portraits of Theodore 
Roosevelt, John D. Rockefeller, Joseph Choate, Lord Wemyss, 
Mrs. Augustus Hemenway, Lady Sassoon, Mrs. Henry White, 
Miss Helen Dunham. In each of these portraits the hands 
tell ; in some cases they are barely more than indicated, in some 
perhaps the drawing may be criticized, but in one and all they 
are alive with meaning. They are never formal, never con- 
ventional; they are inseparable from the character of the 

About this time Miss J. H. Heyneman arrived as an art-student 
from America with a letter of introduction which she forwarded 
to Tite Street. In response Sargent wrote: 

I am delighted to have the prospect of making your acquaint- 
ance and wish I were able to begin correctly by calling upon you at 
once. My morning and afternoon daily sittings leave me little hope 
of being able to do so, and it would be kind of you to waive cere- 
mony and pay a visit instead to my studio. Any day next week, 
after half past five, you would be sure to find me, and I will be glad 
to show you what few things are in my studio. 

Miss Heyneman called the following week. 

In my mind's eye (she writes) I can still see Mr. Sargent come 
forward to meet me with a cordial simplicity that put me at once at 
my ease. My first impression deepened but never changed. In any 
company he seemed to tower over every one else in the room, as much 
by reason of his personality as through the accident of his height. 
At that time his close cut beard was dark brown and his thick hair 
and sharply marked eyebrows were almost black. On his broad 
shoulders his head looked small, and was chiefly remarkable for the 


beauty of the brow, which was splendidly broad and full. His eyes 
were large, somewhat prominent and greenish grey in colour (they had 
lost the blueness which they had in early youth). His quiet humorous 
gaze was essentially kind rather than sharp but he missed nothing of 
what went on around him. In repose his glance was often half veiled 
and brooding, but when he became interested his eyes lit up and he 
fixed them, full and sparkling, upon the speaker who, inspired by that 
intent gaze, would often surpass himself, or tell far more than he 

Shortly afterwards he called at the hotel where Miss Heyne- 
man was staying, and insisted on seeing, not only the sketches 
which she had been prepared to show him, but all those she 
had brought to England with her. His criticisms, as he sat on the 
floor where the sketches were laid out, were at once friendly and 
drastic; he urged the necessity of self-discipline, of never being 
satisfied with easy conclusions, of always trying to do the thing 
just beyond one's capacity. He told her that she was too 
ignorant to be so clever in her drawing, that any success arrived 
at by chance was of little value, that the education of a painter 
was chiefly a matter of training eye, hand and mind to work 
swiftly and in unison, and that what she acquired herself would 
always be of more interest than what she acquired through his 
or any other teaching. He went on: 

Never leave " empty spaces," every stroke of pencil or brush should 
have significance and not merely fill in, . . . copy one of the heads by 
Franz Hals in the National Gallery, then you will get an idea of what 
I mean by leaving no empty spaces in modelling a head, work at the 
fine head of the old woman rather than the superficial one of the 
man, I will come there and give you a criticism and haul you over the 

Sure enough a few days later he appeared at the National 
Gallery. After looking at what she had done he said: " Don't 
concentrate so much on the features . . . they are only like 
spots on an apple . . . paint the head . . . now you have onlv 
nose, mouth and eyes." 

Later on he advised her to go to Haarlem, and on her return 


I'll come with pleasure on Tuesday. ... I hope you'll have some 
copies of Franz Hals to show me. Jacomb Hood tells me that you 
have come back charged with enthusiasm and the spirit of knowledge. 
There is certainly no place like Haarlem to key one up. 

His criticisms were often trenchant. "That's not a head," 
he would say, "that's a collection of features." "That's not 
a shadow, that's a hole, there is light in the darkest shadow." 
But though often severe, he never discouraged. No one sought 
his advice, whether in painting or writing or music, without 
gaining some new stimulus to effort. He could disapprove 
without wounding, and condemn without disheartening. The 
self-indulgence which takes the form of telling home truths was 
unknown to him; he respected too much the sensibilities of 
others. He had the good manners which have their origin in the 
heart, the courtesy which springs from sympathy; and if he trod 
delicately it was because he had a fine instinct for what others 
felt. This made him an invaluable and helpful critic. He 
accepted people as they were, he had none of that shallow passion 
which desires to see them different. Where he saw an oppor- 
tunity to encourage he took it. 

Miss Heyneman has fortunately treasured many of his dicta 
in relation to the study of painting.* 

Meanwhile, during these years, the nineties, it had ceased to 
be a question who would be painted by Sargent; the question 
was whom would he find time to paint. Now, whatever view 
we take of the nineties, it was certainly a period which produced 
a great variety of types, though to generalize about the charac- 
teristics which they owed in common to their times is not easy. 
Indeed, to find a common denominator between Carmencita 
and Lady Faudel Phillips, between Coventry Patmore and Sir 
Asher Wertheimer, between Joseph Chamberlain and Graham 
Robertson, or between M. Leon de la Fosse the pianist and 
Mr. W. M. Cazalet, might well pass the wit of man. Here we 
may detect a difference between the task which fell to Sargent 
and that which confronted some of his predecessors in England. 
Van Dyck was able to give with plausibility a general air of 

* See post, p. 1 8 1. 


nobility to all his sitters, Sir Peter Lely an appearance of courtli- 
ness, Sir Joshua Reynolds and his contemporaries a quiet look 
of security and distinction. The sitters of these artists looked 
out on the world for the most part with high notions of social 
pride, aware of differences of status, and with the insignia of 
high descent as part of their natural equipment. They fitted 
as of right into backgrounds of which colonnades and patrician 
homes, parks and stately trees were the appropriate setting. 
Sargent's lot was to paint a world much wider, less stable and 
more complicated. 

In 1 894 Sargent, who that year was represented in the Academy 
by a portrait of Miss Chanler, and a lunette and portion of 
the ceiling for the Public Library of Boston, and in the New 
English Art Club by four sketches, was elected an A.R.A. His 
own art was too clearly distinct from the Academic painting of 
the day for him not to experience some nervousness at finding 
himself in such company. In thanking Ralph Curtis for his con- 
gratulations on the honour thus conferred, he wrote: 

iv/r r» 33> TlTE STREET. 

My dear Ralph, jj ' 

Thanks for your flourish of trumpets and waving of caps — If 
one lives in London, as I seem to be doing vaguely, I suppose it really 
counts for something to be an A.R.A. It remains to be proved; but 
I shall watch for the symptoms with interest. I have had no end of 
letters of congratulation from Academicians which would point to the 
fact of my having more of an affinity with old fogies than I expected. 
Today I have called on about 20 of them, such is the tradition and it 
is a curious revelation to find the man whose name and work one has 
hated and railed at for years, is a man of the world and altogether 
delightful — for instances Sant, whom one considered the Antichrist. 

It is characteristic of you to have saved a sketch of mine from ob- 
livion, and 's approval tickles me although I consider him a noxious 

humbug — I came across a phrase in my pious reading that must apply 
to his book which I haven't read: "ce livre cheri des begomiles de 
Thrace et des cathares de roccident." This, like another quotation 
from me, that you once investigated at a tea party may be obscene so 

look out. ^ . . 

Yours sincerely, 

John S. Sargent. 


To the same year belongs a letter to Sir Edmund Gosse, 
which gives in uncompromising terms Sargent's opinion of the 
famous "Yellow Book." 

My dear Gosse, " 4 * 

I have just replied in the negative to a note from Mr. Aubrey 
Beardsley asking my permission to reproduce your portrait in the 
"Yellow Book." 

From an artistic point of view I dislike that book too much to be 
willing to seem an habitual contributor. 

My only regret is that it should be a propos of your portrait, 

especially if you ever were willing that it should be reproduced, which 

I should consider a great compliment. ^ . 

r lours very truly, 

John S. Sargent. 

This was written in the first year of the "Yellow Book's" 
existence. Aubrey Beardsley was then the art editor, Henry 
Harland the literary editor. The book still lives vaguely as a 
symbol of "fin de siecle," decadence and revolutionary move- 
ments in art and literature. The justification for such a view 
is not very apparent. Possibly it depended on where Volume I. 
was opened, and what the reader lighted on. Support for one 
view might have been found in the title-page of Aubrey Beardsley, 
the "Stella Maris" of Arthur Symons, and a "Defence of 
Cosmetics" by Max Beerbohm, in which occurred the ominous 
passage beginning: "For behold! the Victorian era comes to its 
end and the day of sancta simplicitas is quite ended. The old 
signs are here and the portents to warn the seer of life that we are 
ripe for a new era of artifice." On the other hand, the reader 
might have been reassured by finding contributions from Henry 
James, Edmund Gosse, Arthur Benson and Sir Frederick Leighton, 

But, however that may be, we must not infer from Sargent's 
letter that he condemned the art of Aubrey Beardsley; on the 
contrary, I have seen him linger delightedly over Beardsley's 
illustrations, commending their rhythm and line and the inven- 
tion of their composition. 

The reception given to the first instalment of his Boston 


work shown in public was tentative but favourable. The 
Saturday Review wrote: "It is enough to say that of their 
originality and solemn impressiveness there can be no question." 
That, at any rate, is true. The lunette which was exhibited 
at the Academy represents the children of Israel under their 
oppressors, Pharaoh and the King of Assyria. It now fills the 
vault at the north end of the Sargent Hall above the frieze of the 
prophets. It is a daring composition. Figures and symbols are 
crowded into the design, but the artist has maintained an aston- 
ishing coherence and mastery in the handling of his highly 
complex scheme. A fine solemnity is apparent in the design, 
and the figures, oppressors and oppressed alike, are keyed up to a 
pitch of dramatic intensity. As mural decoration it has been 
criticized for its want of repose, for its deficiency in that high 
degree of tranquillity in pattern or colour requisite where painting 
is to fulfil its appropriate function in the ornament of a building. 
But its 'originality and impressiveness* are undeniable. With 
the lunette were exhibited the decorations for the vaulting 
of the ceiling. These comprise symbolical representations of 
Astarte, Moloch and Nut, the Egyptian goddess and Mother 
of the Universe. Here, again, the originality is striking. The 
complicated symbolism has been woven into a satisfying design. 
The colouring, in which a bluish ground predominates, is delicate 
and sensitive in quality; the pattern created is geometric in 
character, but within its encompassing form it is free, light and 
varied. These decorations and the lunette were installed in the 
library in 1895. They were the result of four years of work 
and many years of study, and marked the first stage in that 
long task which in 1890 he had taken upon his shoulders. 
Hundreds of drawings and studies had preceded the final accom- 
plishment. As evidence of his thoroughness we may note that 
in the early part of the year (1894) he spent many days at the 
Zoological Gardens making studies of snakes in the reptile house. 
The Academy public were very puzzled as to what it all 
meant. The lunette was hung in the cove of the ceiling so as 
nearly as possible to catch the same light that it would receive 
in the Boston Library. This of itself provided a conundrum. 


By some it was regarded as part of a new scheme of decoration 
for Burlington House, while others were heard to declare that 
it had always been there. Even those who knew better were 
mystified; there was no one to explain, and it certainly did not 
explain itself. Of this Sargent was well aware, and he wrote to 
Lady Lewis: 

You seem to me really to like my decoration and not to look upon 
it as a hopeless conundrum as most people do. I was delighted to find 
that you got some pleasure out of it through your eyes and were not 
fidgetting about the obscurity of those old symbols. What a tiresome 
thing a perfectly clear symbol would be. 

But where a work is not only finely painted but is in addition 
incomprehensible, it is well qualified to attract the multitude, 
and so the lunette and decorations came to be the wonder of the 


Boston Decorations. 

Chapter XIX 

I MET Sargent for the first time in May, 1894, at a party 
given by Mrs. Henry White at Loseley. I have found a 
record of my first impression in a letter written at the time. 
After giving a list of the party it runs: "Also Sargent, who is 
interesting round and about his own subject, though he talks 
slower and with more difficulty in finding words than anyone I 
ever met. When he can't finish a sentence he waves his fingers 
before his face as a sort of signal for the conversation to go on 
without him — at least, that is the impression I came to after 
staying in the house with him." That impression was modified 
as time went on, though he always talked slowly. He gave the 
idea of one grasping at words which danced elusively in his brain; 
his conversation was never fluent, but, like his painting, it could 
be immensely descriptive. He wasted no words — it may even be 
doubted if he had any to waste — but those he used were like 
strokes of his brush, significant and suggestive; indeed, he could 
convey a weight of meaning by a gesture or a truncated phrase. 
He could transpose scenes and experiences into words with more 
character and tang in his rendering than many more accomplished 
masters of phrase. When he talked of matters relating to art, 
or when he was with intimates, he found words with comparative 
ease. Even then there was hesitation, as though he was at his 
easel determining the next stroke of his brush. But his hesitation 
was itself often expressive and in any case so characteristic that 
certainly no friend of his would have had it otherwise. So much 
lay at the back of it: such authority, such anxious sincerity, and 
at the same time, so much humour and finesse. No man had 
more entirely home-made opinions, opinions so wholly the 
unadulterated product of his own reflection or experience. His 
wit was true and direct, free of paradox, an overflow of his 
personality. He resembled Henry James, in that nothing would 



induce him to make a speech. More than once at a dinner in 
early days the shouts of the diners got him to his feet, when 
he would stand struggling with his nervousness, apparently 
unable to utter. On one occasion blurting out, "It's a damned 
shame," he subsided into his seat amid a tempest of applause. 

In the nineties he moved about in the world of London more 
than in subsequent years, dining out frequently. And neither 
then nor later did he consider that his fame exempted him from 
making social efforts. His courtesy never failed. But he was 
undoubtedly fastidious; and by no means were all people grist 
to his mill. Later he became more reluctant to dine out, and in 
his last years he narrowed his social ambit to very small dimen- 
sions. Even so, a considerable portion of the large correspon- 
dence he conscientiously transacted consisted of refusals to 
invitations. Evenings with music were those to which his tastes 
most inclined him. One such is described by Miss Heyneman, 
who writes: 

In 1809 I was back again in London. My sister had a house at 
39, Palace Court which Mr. Sargent called "The Great Good Place" 
a reference to Henry James' short story of that name. It had a large 
music room and he enjoyed evenings of music there, with two or three 
other people. I recall one occasion which could hardly be called 
quiet. It was a very hot night in July and Madame Blanche Marchesi 
and Denis O'Sullivan worked through the whole of Tristan, taking all 
the parts — tenor — bass — baritone — contralto or soprano in turn, even 
singing the chorus parts together. The windows were wide open and 
a great crowd collected outside, for both Madame Marchesi and Denis 
O'Sullivan were plainly visible, and both in wild spirits accompanied 
their singing by very dramatic gestures. Mr. O'Sullivan had taken 
off his coat and was wearing a Japanese kimono, Blanche Marchesi was 
of course in evening dress, but Mr. Sargent had not succumbed to 
the temptation of divesting himself of anything. They were all too 
absorbed to be conscious of heat, or any other discomfort, but when 
they had come to the end, the unhappy pianist rose with his shirt and 
collar wilted and feeling and looking as he expressed it like "claret 
frappe." None the less he wrote the next day "What a good time 
we had last night." 

He was a great playgoer and as ready to be entertained by a 
"revue" as by serious drama or the Russian ballet. His musical 

Z £ 

■s. ■»■. 

Z * 


gifts have been mentioned, and the question is often asked, "What 
did they amount to?" Joachim is credited with the remark 
that "had Sargent taken to music instead of painting he would 
have been as great a musician as he was a painter." Two eminent 
living musicians, however, have kindly contributed their views 
on this aspect of his genius. Mr. Loeffler writes: 

Meadowmere Farm, 



Dear Sir, January 3 °' '^ _ 

In answer to your question about Sargent's "musicalness" 
permit me to jot down in a loose way the various impressions I received 
of this in the course of many years of my enjoying the privilege of his 
delightful and generous friendship. I met Mr. Sargent some 35 
years ago after a Symphony Concert in Boston where I had played 
Lalo's "Symphonie Espagnole," a delightful work of which Sargent 
was very fond. He came to the Artists room that evening and with 
that irresistible charm of his said a few words which made one rise 
in one's self esteem and then arranged for our meeting a few days later 
at dinner in a mutual friends house. On this delightful occasion 
Sargent played with me "en petit Comite" the Symphonie Espagnole 
in which he revealed himself as the admirable musician which he 
innately was. He was quite amazing in accompanying The 3rd 
Movement ("Intermede") a quite splendid piece of music with 
rather complicated rhythms in fyi time, which heplayedwith complete 
musical and rhythmical understanding, verve and spirit. In his 
luminously intelligent manner he spoke of the various characteristics 
of Spanish rhythms in music, quite in the manner in which M. Edouard 
Lalo had expounded these intricacies to me in prior years. That same 
evening we also played the first Sonata by Gabriel Faure for whose 
music Sargent had a strong predilection which I ever sincerely shared. 
Sargent had the insinuating and consummate art of initiating music 
lovers and musicians as well, to the hidden charms, harmonic innova- 
tions and the felicitous melodic lessons ( ?) in the works of this unassum- 
ing composer of genius. To come back once more to our playing 
Faure's perplexingly "Swift" Sonata, Sargent sailed through his part 
in those early days. Not by any means that he always played all the 
notes, but better than that, when cornered by a surprise difficulty, 
he revealed his genuine talent for music by playing all that which was 
and is most essential. In other words he was in music as in all things 


"frightfully" intelligent, not merely glib or clever. He knew Wagner's 
scores much more intimately than many musicians and in bygone 
years played through the better part of them with complete compre- 
hension, deep interest and genuine love for all the beauties in them. 
He discriminated amazingly well. Of Richard Strauss he said: "He 
is often discouragingly common place, but he has a virility of saying 
things which is unusual and convincing, often quite in the grand 
manner." What he liked in Strauss' works was "the organic power, 
the structural design. The 'charpente,' is there; one feels the lungs, 
the heart, the liver, all are functioning!" Of Debussy's works he 
liked best, "The afternoon of a faune," and many of his Piano 
pieces. Strange to say "Pellias and Melisande" he thought rather 
"anaemic." On the whole he did not care much for "Le precieux" 
in any art. His ear was strangely sensitive for unusual harmonic 
progressions, in fact he had an unusually fine memory for them. I 
have known him to be haunted by certain ones, after one hearing he 
would not rest there until he had solved the harmonic riddle. Without 
the music, he would do this at the Piano by sheer tenacity of oral 
memory. His musical training must have been from the start unusu- 
ally good, for I have heard him solfegise like a musician difficult passages, 
that he had not played well at first sight reading. His unusually 
great intelligence helped him in music as in everything else that he 
ever undertook. In the latter years S. had somewhat lost his cunning 
in playing the Piano. This was due no doubt to lack of practice and 
his failing eyesight, by which I mean that glasses interfered much with 
his sense of accommodation while playing. I do not know whether 
Sargent ever tried himself in musical composition yet there is no doubt 
in my mind, that had he chosen to become a musician he would have 
risen to eminence in our art in one way or another. 

It is unusual to meet so marvellously endowed a man possessing 
such simplicity of manner, such goodness of heart, such genuine human 
kindness in his nature. He had the innate bearing and dignity 
of a noble man. His life was to my mind the fullest imaginable, for 
he was ever alert, in his joy over the petal of a flower, over a feather of 
a small bird, the mystery of the propelling power of a little snake in the 
grass. He knew a great deal about natural history. He knew a great 
deal because he usually remembered everything he had read. He 
was the most voracious and discriminating reader I have ever met. 
He belied the French saying "Pour devenir un grand artiste il faut 
etre, il faut rester fruste." Fruste de connaisances they meant, i. e. 
not know too many things, not know too much. He just was a glorious 
exception as genius always is, and just could not help being almost 
omnisc ; ent with so exceptional a memory as was his. To have known 


so great, so lovable, so delightful ;i man has been one of the greatest 
privileges of my life. To have appreciated tin- honor of enjoying also 
his friendship may explain to you the profound affection in which 

I hold today his memory. v . . 

' J Yours sincerely, 


Mr. Percy Grainger has also been good enough to send me 
his impressions. 

May 6th> 1926. 

Sargent's Contributions to Music. 

John Singer Sargent was one of the most outstanding musicians 
I have ever met; for although his musical technic was not as developed 
as his painting technic, he had that rarest of all esthetic gifts — in- 
dividualistic, balanced, critical judgment. His musical judgments, 
sympathies and activities welled up instinctively out of his rich musical 
inner nature, and were not (as are the musical doings of many a gifted 
amateur musician) influenced by the opinions of professional musicians, 
or indeed by any ascertainable outside factors whatever. To hear 
Sargent play the piano was indeed a treat, for his pianism had the 
manliness and richness of his painting, though, naturally, it lacked that 
polished skillfulness that comes only with many-hourly daily practice 
spread over many years. He delighted especially in playing his 
favourite, Faure, and in struggling with the fantastic difficulties of 
Albeniz's "Iberia," which latter he had mastered to the point of 
making it a musical joy to listen to under his hands; a task that might 
stagger many a well-equipped concert pianist. 

However, remarkable as his playing was, intense as his delight in 
active music-making was, I consider his greatest contribution to music 
lay in the wondrously beneficent influence he exerted on musical life 
in England. It is probable that he exerted this same influence in 
other lands, but I happened to witness it in England only. 

In the benevolent paternal quality of his musical influence, Sargent 
was not only the ideal artist, but also the ideal American; for there is 
probably no people, today, that bring such a beautiful reverence 
and generosity to the support of music as do the Americans — possibly 
a modern manifestation of their original Puritan background. Sargent 
always seemed to me a typical Puritan, a typical New-Englander in 
his musical life. Music seemed to be less a recreation to him than 
a sacred duty, the duty of aiding especial musical talent wherever he 
found it. While he was nowise deaf to the appeal of the gifts of 
reproductive musicians, it was primarily the creative musicians (com- 


posers) to whom he was most powerfully drawn, and whom he aided 
most extensively. Out of those many musicians for whom the warmth 
of his musical enthusiasm was especially kindled, I recall particularly 
the following ones: Gabriel Faure, Charles Martin Loeffler, Ethel 
Smyth, Korbay, Leon Delafosse, Debussy, Cyril Scott, Albeniz and 

Sargent was not content to enjoy his musical enthusiasms as merely 
personal pleasures; he never rested until his enthusiasms had taken 
practical tangible shapes beneficial to the musicians that had aroused 
them, and to the art of music in general. For many years (longer than 
I knew him) he had been the apostle of Gabriel Faure in England, 
bringing over that great composer to London for public and private 
performances of his compositions, arranging performances of Faure's 
works by the Cappe Quartet, Leon Delafosse, and other exquisite 
artists and the like. In my opinion Sargent is chiefly responsible 
for the fine understanding of Faure's music that obtains in England. 
He was likewise one of the first (if not the very first) to proclaim the 
beauty and the importance of Loefner's muse. 

Sargent used his great prestige as a unique social as well as artistic 
"lion" in London, to benefit those musicians he considered worthy of 
help and fame. He had only to announce his approval of any musician 
for hostesses to spring up ready to engage these proteges, hoping that 
the performance of these musicians at their "At Homes" would 
guarantee them Sargent's coveted presence — which it usually did, 
for Sargent was untiring and self-effacing in all that pertained to the 
support of those he considered true artists. To have Sargent's approval 
and support was a wonderful boon to any struggling artist; highly 
beneficial from a practical, mundane standpoint, and deeply comforting 
on purely artistic grounds — for Sargent's musical mind worked like 
a composer's rather than like a mere music-lover's. 

The things he especially enjoyed in music, the things he emphasized 
in his musical comments, the details his musical memory retained, were 
all highly specialized points, rare sparks of genius, high-lights of original 
workmanship that the average musician (professional or amateur) 
usually misses entirely, and that, as a rule, only great composers can 
be expected to appreciate consciously. But even great composers 
are seldom as balanced, as fair, as clear-eyed in their musical criticisms 
as Sargent was and I repeat what I asserted earlier — that esthetical 
judgment such as his is the rarest of all musical gifts. 

The fact that he bestowed upon the music of Gabriel Faure, the 
greatest depth and intensity of his musical admiration and devotion 
is a convincing example of the rightness of Sargent's artistic vision, 
of his ability to penetrate to musical essentials, of his unsusceptibility 


to shallow surface appeals, of his freedom from the "isms" and vogues 
of his day. For Faure is one of those quietly great masters (like Bach, 
Cesar Franck and Frederick Delius) who, in the main, work hidden 
from the outer world of their own era, to emerge undyingly resplendan t 
to future generations. But Sargent had in all musical matters the 
magically penetrating eye of genius. In addition he had the comfort- 
ing touch of a warmly human heart, of a compassionate seer — which, 
by the way, explains to me, his natural sympathy with such a subject 
as that so illuminatingly disclosed in his painting The Hermit. 

In all the years in which I was privileged to know him, and on all 
the many, many occasions on which I was made happy in meeting him, 
I never discovered in Sargent one act, one thought, one gesture, one 
opinion, judgment or sympathy that did not proclaim the true genius, 
the great man, the innate aristocrat. Few men were funnier than 
he, consciously or unconsciously. Probably his artistic dislikes were 
as strong as his likings but his disapprovals were buried in obscure 
grunts, in indecipherably broken sentences, while his approvals were 
always clearly and unmistakably conveyed ; for he was, above all things, 
a constructive personality, and never oblivious to the actual effect of 
all he did and said. Two things stand out in my memory of him — 
his unfailing benevolence where the welfare of art was concerned, 
and his inscrutability in all that touched his purely personal life. He 
was strong in all things; always giving sympathy, never evoking it, 
always helpful to others, and always self-contained — a strange mixture 
of a compassionate Christian and a stoical Red Indian Warrior ! 

I cannot close this short account of my impressions of Sargent 
without mentioning what I, in my innermost artist's heart, owe 
esthetically to him and his friend, William Gare Rathbone. These two, 
both so individualistic and uninfluenceable in their musical perceptions, 
were yet united in many musical sympathies and enthusiasms. They 
were alike in this — that they were the finest musical amateurs that I, 
personally, have ever seen; that their musicality was essentially that 
of the composer type, that their natural attitude towards music and 
musicians was constructive and benevolent. Some of my years in 
London were, artistically speaking, dreary and hopeless enough. But 
into the darkness of those times, Sargent and Rathbone unfailingly 
shed light. To meet either of them, anywhere, was to drink a great 
draught of artistic and human encouragement, to feel enboldened 
towards further compositional experimentation, to sense an intuitive 
championing of all artistic genuineness and originality. For all these 
nobilities, which were revealed to me in moments when I was poor 
and desperate enough to measure their true and rare value, I shall be 
unforgettingly thankful as long as I have my memory. 


The layman who reads these appreciations of Mr. Loeffler 
and Mr. Grainger will probably conclude that Joachim was not 
exaggerating when he spoke of Sargent as a musician. As such, 
Sargent entertained a deep admiration for the musical gifts 
of Ethel Smyth. Her singing found in him an enchanted listener, 
and it is in the act of singing that the drew her. Before that he 
had been asked to paint her. In reference to the request he 
wrote: "Brewster, for some time, has wanted me to do a head of 
her, a painting, and they say he wants her in a calm mood. Miss 
Smyth in a calm mood ! It reminds me of Mr. Dooley's descrip- 
tion of a fiery American general: after describing his tremendous 
and furious rages he says: 'He was a man who could be calm 
when there was anything to be calm about. ' " 

Chapter XX 

AMONG the pictures which Sargent exhibited at the 
Zjk Academy in 1895 were two portraits of Coventry Pat- 
JL JL more. One of these is now in the National Portrait 
Gallery; the other, a sketch of the poet's head, is one of Sargent's 
most brilliant achievements; as in more than one of his successful 
portraits the head is in profile. The sketch is not by any means 
the Patmore of The Angel in the House, but the Patmore of 
whom Sir Edmund Gosse* wrote: "Defiance was not a burden 
to him; he was 'ever a fighter* requiring for complete mental 
health the salubrious sensation of antagonism." His face is 
rugged with battle, leonine with combativeness, but illuminated 
with an inward and spiritual grace. It is an intimate and reveal- 
ing study of character. Sir Edmund, discussing these pictures, 
wrote: "It is necessary to insist that he (Patmore) was not always 
thus ragged and vulturine, not always such a miraculous portent 
of gnarled mandible and shaken plumage." At the date of the 
picture (September, 1894), however, Patmore was seventy-one 
years of age and considerably older in appearance, a Fighting 
Temeraire drawing within sight of harbour. Those who hold 
that Sargent failed in the rendering of spiritual qualities, may 
hesitate before this sketch. Here is old age with the fires of 
youth still glowing within; the eyes undimmed by time; the 
spirit victorious over the accidents of mortality. The easy and 
decisive modelling of the head, the quality of the flesh scored 
and thinned with age, and the truth of tone, all declare it one of 
the artist's most noteworthy efforts. Before the sittings Patmore 
had written of Sargent: "He seems to me to be the greatest, not 
only of living English portrait painters, but of all English portrait 
painters." Patmore was delighted with the sketch, and when a 
friend told him that anyone might suppose that the unseen hand 

* Edmund Gosse, "Coventry Patmore," p. 178. 



held a whip, and that it might have been the portrait of a Southern 
planter on the point of thrashing his slaves and exclaiming, 
"You damned niggers!" the poet exclaimed: "Is not that what 
I have been doing all my life ? " Not content with the two 
portraits, Sargent insisted on a third; that is how Patmore comes 
to figure in the frieze in the Boston Library as the prophet 

Another portrait of the same year is that of Mr. W. W. 
Graham Robertson, author of "Pinkie and the Fairies. ,, He is 
painted as a slight young dandy standing on a polished floor; 
the figure in the long fashionable overcoat, the jade-handled 
cane, the carefully groomed poodle with a coloured ribbon tying 
up its curls, and the delicate intellectual countenance of the 
model, pale with weariness of thought or with dawns that have 
found him bandying paradox and repartee, might be taken as a 
symbol of the nineties. The picture speaks of the "Beardsley 
period," of the "Yellow Book," of the aspiration to startle and 
the cultivation of disillusioned detachment. Sargent has been 
engrossed by the significance of the problem to be solved. He 
has painted an individual, but he has defined a period, a type, 
an attitude of mind; he has put on record a date. That is an 
achievement to be compared with the portrait of the youth, 
Johan Koeymans, painted by Hals. All the mastery of tone and 
value he had acquired is displayed on the canvas and shown in 
the gradations of colour that give life and beauty to the picture. 
The painting is less free than in the Patmore sketch, but the 
modelling of the head is no less skilful. A palette more limited 
than usual has been employed. The introduction of the dandi- 
fied poodle has given interest and vivacity to the picture and 
adroitly provided a half-tone between the high light of face, 
hands and collar and the sombre background. Other portraits 
shown were Mrs. Ernest Hills and Mrs. Russell Cooke, while 
at the New Gallery, he exhibited the portrait of Miss Ada 

At the end of 1895, finding the calls on his time in London 
had grown so pressing, he determined to take another studio in 
which to continue his Boston decorations. Accordingly, he 



gave up residing at Morgan Hall with the Abbeys and took a 
twenty-one years' lease of 12 and 14, The Avenue, Fulham Road. 
For the rest of his life when in London the greater part of his time 
was spent in the large studio, which, with an adjoining room 
where he worked at the architectural part of his decorations, 
comprised the new premises. They lay removed from the 
thoroughfare with an unwelcoming approach through a back- 
yard. Here he could withdraw from the world, like a bandit 
to his fastness, and admit visitors or not as he liked. An un- 
answered rap on the door was no proof that Sargent was not 
within. If he answered, it was invariably in his shirt-sleeves, 
generally with a cigarette in his mouth, and always with a robust 
welcome. Scores of pencil studies lay about and vast canvases 
were in position against the wall, and with regard to these he was 
always curious to hear the views of a layman, and ready to discuss 
his criticism and approval. The contents of his workshop next 
door, where he worked out problems of lighting and calculations 
of architectural proportion and geometrical relations, were 
much more recondite; here the amateur could only display a 
totally unintelligent interest. His famous picture Gassed 
was painted at Fulham Road, also the Generals of the War 
and the decorations of Boston. Some years later, when sated 
with painting portraits, he wrote to Ralph Curtis: 

No more paughtraits* whether refreshed or not. I abhor and 
abjure them and hope never to do another especially of the Upper 
Classes. I have weakly compromised and lately done a lot of mugs 
in coke and charcoal and am sick of that too, although occasionally 
the brief operation has been painless. I am winding up my worldly 
affairs in that line and now I shall be able to paint nothing but Jehovah 
in Fulham Road. His friends all call Him Jah, Whereas may you 
and the Dogaressa (Mrs. Ralph Curtis) and the children merit and 
receive his fatherly attention and flourish under his care. 

J. S. S. 

It was about the same time that Sargent said to someone 
who lamented that in his painting he had veiled, and not revealed, 

* He used this spelling in later years as a sort of signal of satiety. 


the face of Jehovah: "You forget I have given up painting 

One picture exhibited at the Academy in 1896 may be 
especially mentioned because it elicited the warm admiration 
of Mr. George Moore, who was far from being enthusiastic about 
Sargent. Mr. Moore wrote of this portrait (Miss Priestley) : 

Gradually a pale-faced woman with arched eyebrows, draws our 
eyes and fixes our thoughts. It is a portrait by Mr. Sargent one of 
the best he has painted. By the side of a Franz Hals it might look 
small and thin, but nothing short of a fine Hals would affect its real 
beauty. My admiration for Mr. Sargent has often hesitated, but 
this picture completely wins me. . . . The rendering is full of the 
beauty of incomparable skill. . . . The portrait tells us that he has 
learned the last and most difficult lesson — how to omit. ... A 
beautiful work certainly: I should call it a perfect work were it not 
that the drawing is a little too obvious in places we can detect the 
manner: it does not coule de source like the drawing of the very great 

Thenceforward a steady stream of portraits issued from the 
studio in Tite Street. Max Beerbohm's caricature reproduced 
on p. 160, represents Sargent, v/ith dilated eye and a countenance 
slightly bucolic, at his window like a farmer taking stock of his 
cattle, and surveying the row of applicants drawn up in the street 
below. Among the fashionable ladies waiting their turn may be 
seen boy messengers sent on in advance to keep places in the 
ranks, where Lady Faudel Phillips and the Duchess of Sutherland 
are conspicuous. One of his sitters, a famous personage, asked 
if she could invite some of her friends to be present at a sitting. 
He reluctantly assented. At three o'clock the door bell rang, 
and during the next half-hour the friends continued to arrive, 
all strangers to Sargent, most of them curiously dressed repre- 
sentatives of the aesthetic movement then at its height. By 
three-thirty the studio was thronged with an excited concourse; 
every moment the hubbub increased. By degrees he was pressed 
against his easel, and the area in which he used to step back to get 
a better view of his sitter was blocked. The sitting had to be 


In his early days when painting in Paris he used to relate 
that Mrs. Moore, who was then sitting to him in her own house, 
and who enjoyed a European fame for malaprop use of French, 
took exception to a glass of flowers standing between her and the 
painter. She rang the bell and when the footman appeared said, 
pointing in the direction of Sargent, "Otez-moi ce salaud" {sale 
eaii). The embarrassed footman was at a loss what to do. 

Such things appear trivial in print, but Sargent gave them 
life. Any account of him which ignored this side, or failed to 
show his receptivity to the humblest sources of amusement, would 
be misleading. It is unnecessary, however, to draw further on 
the store of such episodes with which his memory was peopled. 
It was a common experience for him, as probably for all portrait 
painters, to be asked to alter some feature in a face, generally 
the mouth; indeed, this happened so often that he used to define 
a portrait as "a likeness in which there was something wrong 
about the mouth." He rarely acceded, and then only when he 
was already convinced that it was wrong. In the case of Francis 
Jenkinson, the Cambridge Librarian, it was pointed out that he 
had omitted many lines and wrinkles which ought to be shown 
on the model's face. He refused to make, as he said, "a railway 
system of him." His refusal more than once led to scenes. On 
one occasion the lady who had taken exception to the rendering 
of her mouth became hysterical and fainted. Sargent was the 
last man in the world to cope with such a situation. A friend 
who happened to call found him helplessly contemplating the 
scene. The model was restored to sense, but the mouth remained 
as it was. To another lady who complained of the drawing of her 
nose he said: "Oh, you can alter a little thing like that when 
you get it home." To Lady Cholmondeley, of whom he did 
two portraits, he always called the planes of the nostrils "the 
devil's own." 

A sitter has given me an account of being painted by Sargent 
in 1902: 

At one of my sittings during which Mr. Sargent painted my hands 
I sat motionless for two hours. A certain way in which I had un- 
consciously put my hands together pleased him very much because the 


posture, he said, was clearly natural to me. He implored me not to 
move. We worked very hard — he with his magical brush, I with my 
determination to control fidgets and the restless instincts to which 
sitters are prone when forced to remain still for any length of time, 
for the most part we were silent. Occasionally I heard him muttering 
to himself. Once I caught: " Gainsborough would have done it ! . . . 
Gainsborough would have done it !" 

He was working at fever heat, and it was so infectious that I felt 
my temples throbbing in sympathy with his efforts, the veins swelling 
in my brow. At one moment I thought I was going to faint with the 
sense of tension and my fear to spoil the pose which had enthused him. 

At the end of two hours he declared that the hands were a failure, 
and he obliterated them. 

"I must try again next time," he said in a melancholy tone. At 
the next sitting he painted the hands quickly as they now appear a 
tour de force in the opinion of some, utterly unsuccessful in the eyes of 

My husband came several times to the sittings. On one occasion 
Mr. Sargent sent for him specially. He rode across the Park to Tite 

He found Mr. Sargent in a depressed mood. The opals baffled 
him. He said he couldn't paint them. They had been a nightmare 
to him, he declared, throughout the painting of the portrait. 

That morning he was certainly in despair. . . . Presently he 
said to my husband: "Let's play a Faure duet." They played, Mr. 
Sargent thumping out the bass with strong stumpy fingers. At the 
conclusion Mr. Sargent jumped up briskly, went back to the portrait 
and with a few quick strokes, dabbed in the opals. He called to my 
husband to come and look: " I've done the damned thing," he laughed 
under his breath. 

My sister, on the occasion of her visit to the studio during my last 
sitting, remembers seeing Mr. Sargent paint my scarf with one sweep 
of his brush. 

What appeared to interest him more than anything else when I 
arrived was to know what music I had brought with me. 

To turn from colour to sound evidently refreshed him, and pre- 
sumably the one art stimulated the other in his brain. 

He used to tell of Duse that she consented to give one sitting. 
She arrived at midday and at five minutes to one rose from her 
chair, saying, "Je vous souhaite de vivre mille ans et d'avoir la 
gloire et beaucoup d'enfants, mais au revoir," and he never saw 
her again. 


He had very decided views as to what clothes suited particular 
sitters best. If for some reason they preferred their own choice 
it was always to the detriment of the picture. For that superb 
group of the four American Professors now at the Johns Hopkins 
Institute, Baltimore, Sir William Osier proposed to wear his 
Doctor's gown; Sargent said at once: 

No I can't paint you in that. It won't do. I know all about that 
red. You know they gave me a degree down there and I've got one 
of those robes. Musingly he went on "I've left it on the roof in the 
rain. I've buried it in the garden. It's no use. The red is as red as 
ever. The stuff is too good. It won't fade. Now if you could get a 
Dublin degree ? The red robes are made of different stuff and if you 
wash them they come down to a beautiful pink. Do you think you 
could get a Dublin degree ? No, I couldn't paint you in that Oxford 
red ! Why, do you know, they say that the women who work on the 
red coats worn by the British soldiers have all sorts of troubles with 
their eyes. 

The picture was painted in 33, Tite Street. In the back- 
ground is the horseman by Greco, familiar to those who 
visited his studio. None of his work excels this picture for 
solemnity and dignity. The Academic atmosphere is there at 
its best; it has judicial calm and authority. He has rendered a 
noble conception with the utmost economy of means; for im- 
pressiveness and solidity of structure, for gradation in tone and 
recession, for reflection in the light and luminosity in the shade 
this picture will rank with his finest work. In the life of Sir 
William Osier we read that "Sargent worried over posing them 
and evidently did not think them beauties." Indeed, after 
seeing Osier he said he had never before painted a man with an 
olive-green complexion. 

In later years, at any rate, Sargent took pleasure in the 
presence of someone besides the sitter in the studio. He liked 
listening to what was said, and however intense his concentration, 
he always seemed to follow and be able to join in the conversa- 
tion. I never saw him more amused than when, about to paint 
a famous statesman, he received a letter from the organizer of 
the movement to have the portrait done, giving a list of topics 


suitable for discussion during the sittings. I remember the 
first topic was the "Irish question." Sargent and the Irish 
question ! Max Beerbohm could not have desired a better 
subject for his pencil. 

More than once he had occasion to be embarrassed and also 
amused by the subsequent fate of his pictures. Once one dis- 
tinguished sitter had his hand painted out and later begged that 
it might be painted in again. On another occasion a husband, 
alarmed at his wife's decolletage, had a water-colour representa- 
tion of tulle added in the name of propriety before the picture was 
exhibited. The following letter, written to me in 1897, shows the 
sort of request to which he was only too much accustomed: 

As you are going to R do if the opportunity occurs, rather dis- 
courage the idea of my going down to do some fussy retouches to the 

picture that B fancies it requires — among others to bring the color 

of the hair up to date. I think it would be a great pity. There are 
also hopeless difficulties in the way of doing the hand any better. 
Every year I get in Italy, an invitation for some long past week-end 
to run down to R and catch that little golden shade that I un- 
accountably missed years ago. You might have a chance of suggesting 
that old pictures ought to be left in peace. 

When invited to alter a face and "soften" an expression, he 
left no room for ambiguity in his answer. 

Dear , 

I have received your kind letter and if I thought an interview 
was of the slightest use and would not lead to a further discussion I 
would of course welcome it. 

But the point on which we differ is one with which a long experience 
of portrait painting has made me perfectly familiar — I have very often 
been reproached with giving a hard expression to ladies portraits, 
especially when I have retained some look of intelligence in a face, 
besides amiability, as I consider myself forced to do in this case. 

The expression of 's face in the portrait is kind and 

indulgent, with over and above this, a hint at a sense of humour. If 
I take this out, it will become as soft as anyone can desire. But as a 
matter of fact nothing will make me, much as I regret not meeting 

your wishes. v , 

1 Yours truly, 

John S. Sargent. 


Many will remember the injuries done at the Adademy to 
Sargent's portrait of Henry James by a suffragette on May 4, 
1914. The moment the outrage was discovered Sargent was 
telegraphed for. What followed is described by Mr. Lamb, the 
Secretary to the Royal Academy: 

Just as I returned to the Academy (he had accompanied the woman 
to the police station) and found some of the Council already arrived, 
Sargent came into the room, and, although he must have seen out of 
the corner of his eye the horrid ruin of his portrait gaping there on the 
settee, he came straight over to me, with real anguish breaking out 
over his whole big person and exclaimed "My dear Lamb, what a 
dreadful business for you, I am so sorry." On my telling him I had 
got the criminal locked up he went on "A mad- woman and a police- 
court ! How awful for you !" And it was only when I led him to the 
picture that he thought of examining the real disaster. I have no 
doubt that other friends can quote similar instances of his quick self- 
forgetting sympathy. 

That illustrates very well a certain definite kind of mag- 
nanimity characteristic of him. It is true that given good cause 
he was capable of bearing resentment, but when such cause was 
absent, it was the feelings of others which were uppermost in his 
mind. His benevolence welled up spontaneously. He did not 
suffer his personal stake to weigh in the balance. There was no 
ostentation, the benefit was conferred, the altruistic thing done, 
without his thinking twice about it. 

It was rare for him to speak of his portraits or comment on 
his sitters, still rarer for him to write about either. The following 
letter about his portrait of President Wilson, addressed to 
his friend Mrs. Hale, is one of the few instances to the contrary: 

The New Willard, 


D. C. 

-Kit *T Oct. 20, IQI7. 

My dear Mary, 7 

I recognized your handwriting on the Ottawa poem. 

Here I am well under weigh. Have had two sittings already and 
hope to have one every afternoon. My sitter is interesting looking, 
not at all like the Kodaks of him in the papers, and very suave and 


reposeful. The White House is empty, the habitation of the lynx 
and the bittern. How different from the days of Roosevelt who posed 
or rather didn't pose, in a crowd. . . . 

My soul longs for the Pope Building, and if the President behaves 
himself I hope to be back there in two weeks. 

Yours ever, 

John S. Sargent. 

To Mrs. Gardner he wrote at about the same time that the 
President "was interesting to do, very agreeable to be with, and 
the conditions are perfect, as he allows no interruptions and does 
not hold levees as Roosevelt used to do." 

He was never complacent. That would have been incon- 
sistent with his humility, which was proof against applause. 
Few can have heard him express himself satisfied with any work 
he had done. But it was a rare pleasure to hear him exclaim 
in regard to one of his latest portraits: "That will show . . . that 
I can still paint." It was the nearest thing to self-contentment 
that in the course of thirty years I ever heard him express. 

He was adamant where the reproduction and exhibition of 
pictures was concerned. He held the view that the artist, and 
not the owner, was the arbiter. In the following letter to the 
then secretary of the National Portrait Society he states his 


In reply to your consent for my request to exhibit a portrait, 
the consent of the owner having been already obtained, I write to 
point out, as I have done on similar occasions, that I consider this 
to be the reverse of the order in which such consents should be applied 
for when it is a question of an annual exhibition. 

I make it a rule not to give my consent when that of the owner has 

been obtained first. v c • i r u 

Yours faithfully, 

John S. Sargent. 

Chapter XXI 

ON January 14, 1897, Sargent was elected an Academician 
by a large majority in a ballot against B. W. Leader. In 
the July following he deposited temporarily a portrait 
of Herr Johannes Wolff as his diploma work, signed the roll 
and received his diploma. In 1900 he replaced the portrait by 
A Venetian Interior^ exhibited in the Academy Exhibition of 
that year. It had been painted for his friend Mrs. Curtis, the 
owner of the Palazzo Barbaro, where he very often stayed when 
in Venice. It had failed to meet with her approval; it had 
offended in two ways; the portrait of herself was said to anticipate 
advancing years, and her son seated on a table in an attitude of 
nonchalance was inconsistent with the deportment observed 
by Mrs. and Mr. Charles P. Curtis. Thus the picture became 
one of the cornerstones of the Diploma Gallery. 

The picture has a quality of charm, indefinable, but to as 
great a degree, perhaps, as any picture by Sargent. He has 
made use of the most abbreviated means. By the aid of a few 
smudges he has indicated the sumptuous Venetian decoration, 
the carvings round the pictures, the scrolls and cherubs on 
the walls, the lunettes above the doors; accuracy of eye and in- 
fallibility of touch could hardly go further, the room bathed in 
warm light and luminous shadows is filled with the local spirit. 
Mrs. Curtis, with her embattled dignity, and her husband, with 
his more venerable reposefulness as he looks at a volume of 
engravings, are seen in the foreground; further back in the room 
is the younger generation, Ralph the son and artist, jaunty and 
debonair, and beside him in a high light the graceful figure of 
his wife. Further away the remainder of the room in deep 
shadow tells of another and an older Venice, of another and a 
more spectacular social life. 



In 1898 he began his series of Wertheimer portraits,* and 
writing to Lady Lewis shortly afterwards he described himself 
as being in a state of "chronic Wertheimerism." Each picture 
as it left the studio served to whet afresh the appetite of the 
great art dealer. Indeed, Mr. Asher Wertheimer's only regret 
was that there were not more Wertheimers for Sargent to paint. 
There were no bounds to his admiration for the artist, or limits 
to his desire for the perpetuation of his family on canvas. The 
series began appropriately enough with the portraits of Mr. and 
Mrs. Asher Wertheimer which were exhibited in the Academy 
of 1898. It was the year of their silver wedding, and they were 
to be presented to the world in a form which would long outlive 
any anniversaries that they or many generations of their descen- 
dants were likely to celebrate. The portrait of Mrs. Asher 
Wertheimer bears an aspect of great dignity, of a serene and 
distinguished old age. She looks out of the canvas with a gaze 
of kindly benevolence, and with not a little of quiet wisdom. 
Representation may or may not be "irrelevant"; here, by means 
of it, the artist has been able to move the spectator. Those 
whose faith in that aspect of art may have been shaken can hardly 
fail to find their confidence restored as they look on this impressive 
rendering of a fellow-creature. 

As an example of skill in presenting character the portrait 
of Mr. Wertheimer, who peers rather than gazes at the spec- 
tator, is even more remarkable. We are aware of success rather 
cynically enjoyed, of assessments as acute in the case of humanity 
as of works of art, of antipathies lived down by sheer astuteness, 
of triumphant pertinacity and of commercial secrecy. But no 
one picture of the Wertheimer series surpasses, and it may be 
doubted if any equals, the portrait of the two sisters Miss Ena 
(now Mrs. Robert M. Mathias) and Miss Betty (now Mrs. 
Eustace A. Salaman). They are painted standing side by side. 
The elder and taller of the two, dressed in white satin, has her 
arm round the waist of her sister who, slighter and less tall, is in a 
gown of deep red velvet. The design is compact, balanced and 
rhythmic. The arms of the younger sister fall by her side, and 

* That these pictures now belong to the nation is largely due to the diplomatic 
persuasion of Lord D'Abernon. 



here Sargent has introduced a feature which has contributed 
not a little to the distinction of the picture. He has painted 
an open fan of transparent material in the right hand of the 
model, the spokes turned towards the spectator, and by this 
means he has prolonged the lines and carried on the tones of 
the right arm. The open fan has given life and interest to this 
section of the canvas and, set off against the red dress, has helped 
to balance the distribution of dark and light in the picture. 
The lines of the right arm are reminiscent of the portrait of 
Madame Gauthereau; they have the same fluent vertical fall, 
while the arm itself is turned in much the same way towards the 
spectator. The iridescent ivory tints of the white dress, merging 
into the delicate blues and greys of the Chinese vase, the flesh 
tones, the background, and the beautifully painted hair of the 
two girls show a consummate mastery of colour. This picture 
is one of the completest expressions of Sargent's art. No stroke 
of the brush is without significance; every accessory contributes 
to the harmonious unity of the group; there is no dull or un- 
necessary passage. The result is a picture full of vigour and 
vitality, constructed and modelled with astonishing solidity, 
and of great decorative quality. The subject was well suited to 
his brush. The two girls, in the prime of youth and splendid 
types of their race, form a seductive contrast: the elder glowing, 
opulent and triumphant; the younger slighter and less dramatic, 
sheltered rather than dominated by her sister; the one in full sail, 
the other, by comparison, gently floating on more quiet seas. 
Of this picture Mr. Roger Fry wrote: "This is in its way a master- 
piece. The poses of the figures are full of spontaneity and verve, 
and the contrast between the leaning figure of the younger girl 
and the almost exaggerated robustness of her sister is entirely 
felicitous. And the arrangement once attained, in this case with 
such conspicuous good fortune, Mr. Sargent has recorded it as 
no one else could have done." 

Mrs. Mathias was again seen on the walls of the Academy in 
1905 in the picture known as A Vele Gonfie. Unfortunately 
this picture, one of the finest of the series, was not included in the 
bequest to the nation. 


While engaged at Fairford on his Boston decorations Sargent 
had made several attempts to model in clay. Modelling thence- 
forward was for him a recognized means to attaining his effects 
in the library decorations. In 1901 he exhibited at the 
Academy The Crucifix, his most important piece of sculpture. 
No one who looks at it can doubt Sargent's emotional interest in 
these decorations.* 

Here on a Byzantine cross Sargent has placed the figure of the 
dying Christ; Adam and Eve are stationed closely to it in a 
crouching attitude on either side, each holding a chalice under 
an arm of the Cross to receive the Blood of Christ. At the foot 
of the Cross is a pelican feeding its young with the blood from 
its breast, an ancient symbol of the Resurrection. Below 
the feet of the Saviour is the serpent, signifying evil partially 
subdued. Above the arms of the Cross are written the words: 
"Remissa Sunt Peccata Mundi." The Crucifix, the ground- 
work of which is gold, is so placed in the Sargent Hall that the 
foot of the Cross forms part of the frieze of the angels. The 
remainder of the Cross is included in the scheme of the lunette 
of the Trinity immediately above. The angels of the frieze, 
two of whom uphold the Cross, carry the instruments of the 
Passion. Woven on the garments of the two supporting angels 
are the symbols of the Eucharist, wheat and wine. The angels, 
eight in number, to symbolize regeneration, are clad in Byzan- 
tine draperies, their faces aglow with the beatific vision, and 
illumined by the sanctity of their office. The frieze, as in the 
case of that of the prophets, is divided from the lunette by a 
cornice. On this is written an inscription which Sargent found 
in the Cathedral of Cephalu in Sicily. "Factus Homo, Factor 
Hominis, Factique Redemptor. Corporeus Redimo Corpora 
Cordi Deus."f 

The lunette contains three colossal figures. These are the 
Persons of the Trinity. They are bound by a single red cloak 

* It now forms part of the "Dogma of the Redemption," at the south end of the 
Sargent Hall, facing the frieze of "The Prophets" and the lunette of "The Children 
of Israel under the hands of their oppressors," already referred to. 

f Sargent substituted the word Redimo for Judico in the original — a change 
necessitated by the character of the decoration. 



with a hem of gold. Their faces, slightly in relief, are exactly 
similar. Each raises a right hand in the manner of benediction 
common to the Greek Church. Thus is their oneness symbolized. 
A difference in the form of the crown worn by each figure indi- 
cates the difference of their several attributes. 

The original bronze presented by Miss Sargent and Mrs. 
Ormond as a memorial to their brother now stands in the crypt 
of St. Paul's. There it can be judged as a work of art unrelated 
to the scheme for which it was designed and of which it now 
forms a part. 

Throughout the composition we have the sense that he was 
profoundly conscious of the majesty of the subject with which 
he was dealing.* 

Whistler, as soon as he saw The Crucifixion in the Academy, 
wrote to Sargent to say how fine he thought it,f and Whistler, 
as we learn from the Pennell Life, was not given to praising 
Sargent's art. Sargent himself considered that he had succeeded 
beyond his hopes. It was a work for which he had more liking 
than he generally allowed himself to entertain for his achieve- 
ments. He gave to a few of his friends a small reproduction, 
and in a letter to Lady Lewis gave directions how it should be 

I am sending you the little bronze crucifix which I feel I rather 
thrust upon you, but still I know you will like it if only that it will 
remind you of the better big one. It ought to be hung about the 
level of one's eye and if possible not in too strong a side light. A top 
light is best but not easy to find in a house unless you can find room 
for it on your staircase. But to dictate where a gift horse is to go would 
be looking the recipient in the mouth as Solomon says. I am only 
too delighted that it should be in your house. 

In 1902 Sargent spent the month of August in Norway. 
There he painted On His Holidays, a salmon river tumbling 
with agitated waters through a rocky channel with a portrait 

* The idea of Adam and Eve receiving the blood of Christ on the Cross is found 
in a thirteenth-century window at Angers, and in another at Bourges. These are 
referred to in fimile Male's "Religious Art in France, Thirteenth Century," a book 
which was in the possession of Sargent and sold after his death. The American 
sculptor St. Gaudens, in a letter, described the Crucifix as a "masterpiece." 

t E. R. and J. Pennell, "The Whistler Journal," p. 35. 



of young McCulloch lying on one of the rocks beside the salmon 
he had caught. The picture has the chilling accuracy of a 
photograph. It is a plain unvarnished tale, told in a cold 
Northern light, the work of an accomplished craftsman who has 
for the time being doffed the role of artist. 

In London it was becoming rarer to meet him at the houses 
of other people. His circle was contracting to the radius of his 
real preferences. He had by no means a comprehensive interest 
in humanity; on the contrary, his taste in people as time went on 
became narrowly restricted. It was, in fact, only in a chosen 
circle that he was completely at his ease. No man could work 
at such pressure and not require that his relations with his 
fellowmen should be free of effort and constraint and devoid of 
formality. The "social function" element was irksome and 
distasteful to him. The commerce of words was only free and 
unhampered in a familiar atmosphere, in places where he could 
be mentally in his shirt-sleeves, in all "the quotidian undress 
and relaxation of his mind." Friendships which he had once 
formed he did not change or abate. To the end of his life he 
continued and carried along with him those he had made in 
his early days. But others were formed. In ,1898 he painted 
Mrs. Charles Hunter, the wife of Mr. Charles Hunter, a north- 
country coalowner, and the sister of Dame Ethel Smyth the 
composer. The Hunters entertained considerably in London. 
In the country they had a seventeenth-century house, Hill Hall, 
near Epping, some twenty miles by road from Hyde Park Corner. 
It was furnished and decorated in the Italian style and in admi- 
rable taste by Mrs. Hunter, who, herself keenly interested in the 
arts, had the faculty of gathering within the fold of her generous 
hospitality rising and risen lights of the literary and artistic 

Sargent had paid tribute in kind to his hostess by marbling 
two immense columns, veritable Jackim and Boaz, in the hall, 
painting with the skill of the most accomplished house decorator. 

Writing in 191 2 from Hill Hall, Henry James says:* . . . "I 
have made . . . this much a dash into the world. It is the 

* "Letters," ii., p. 241. 

National Gallery, M 


world of the wonderful and delightful Mrs. Charles Hunter, 
whom you may know (long my very kind friend), and all swim- 
ming just now in a sea of music; John Sargent (as much a player 
as a painter), Percy Grainger, Roger Quilter, Wilfred de Glehn 
and others: round whose harmonious circle, however, I roam 
as in outer darkness, catching a vague glow through the veiled 
windows of the temple, but on the whole only intelligent enough 
to feel and rue my stupidity — which is quite the wrong con- 
dition." In this world there could often be seen on Sunday 
and occasionally on week-days an assembly of notables seasoned 
with more fashionable and less renowned members of society. 
Henry James, George Moore, Max Beerbohm, Sargent, Professor 
Tonks, Wilson Steer, D. S. MacColl, de Glehns, Ethel Smyth, 
Percy Grainger, Roger Quilter, Cyril Scott, were among those 
most often to be found there. It was in just such company 
Sargent was most at ease, and it was such surroundings that his 
friendship with Mrs. Hunter henceforward secured for him. 
As the years went by, work during seven whole days of the week 
made it difficult and physically irksome for him to leave London. 
He stayed, too, at Lympne, Houghton and Panshanger. But 
paying visits — although once he was there no one seemed more 
care free — entailed in his case a surprising amount of preliminary 
worry. His real home was the house of his sister Emily. He 
talked to her every morning on the telephone, and when not 
dining out he dined with her in her room looking over the 
Thames. This was hung with the red damask that he had bought 
for her in Venice and, like her other rooms, with the pictures 
he had painted for her. Most evenings they had guests. Henry 
James, Mrs. Curtis, Professor Tonks, Wilson Steer, de Glehns, 
Nelson Ward, the Harrisons, Barnards, Alfred Parsons, Joseph 
Farquharson, R.A., Erskine Childers, and a few Academicians 
formed the nucleus of their society. Professor Tonks writes: 
"I was introduced to his mother and sister by Steer, and was 
invited to Mrs. Sargent's flat (as it then was) in Carlyle Mansions 
to dinner, very often now it seems to me, looking back, where I 
spent some of the happiest evenings of my life. Sargent was 
generally there, and I have a feeling that those who were not 


fortunate enough to meet him at those dinners missed the best 
of him. The evenings were very informal; we generally went 
in our ordinary clothes, and there was a sense of freedom which 
encouraged everyone to speak at his best. Sargent was on these 
occasions decidedly a good talker. As a public speaker he was a 
complete failure; at a dinner given to him by the Chelsea Arts 
Club he could do little else than hang on to the table, but at the 
table in Carlyle Mansions he made an admirable host, enjoyed 
talking himself and listening to others. He had a very accurate 
memory, disconcerting at times, as he had a way of correcting 
careless quotations. He was a most honest and fearless expresser 
of his views, perhaps a little irritable on contradiction, more so 
as time went on." 

Every autumn after his mother's death in 1905 would see 
him crossing the Channel, always with his sister Emily, and either 
with the de Glehns or Miss Eliza Wedgwood, or the Misses 
Barnard, or Mrs. Ormond and her children, bound for some 
sketching centre in Italy or Corfu, Majorca or Spain, or in 
the Val d'Aosta. To the latter place he and his sister went 
in three successive years, and it was there that he painted 
Cashmere, The Hermit and well-known pictures of his nieces 
lying in various attitudes by the clear running brook, in brilliant 
Oriental clothes, which he took with him from London for the 
purpose. One year he travelled with a stuffed gazelle, bought at 
Rowland Ward's, which was to figure in some landscape. Here, 
too, he painted the portrait of himself by fixing a mirror to the 
trunk of a tree. This was a task that bored him unspeakably, 
and after a few strokes of his brush he would dash off to the brook 
to do one of his sketches. The gazelle was left at the 
painters' chalet in the Val d'Aosta, the portrait now hangs in 
the Urlizi. 

What scenery did Sargent prefer ? We have already noticed 
how little he concerned himself with panorama and distance, 
and that he preferred "close ups"; within these limits and given 
bright sunshine his range was exceedingly wide. His letters 
contain some indications of his preferences. Writing to Ralph 
Curtis from the Palazzo Barbaro in 19 13 he said: 


The de Glehns my sister and I are off in a day or two to the I ,akc 
of Guarda, where we have discovered a nasty little pension on a little 
promontory, which is otherwise paradise — cypresses, olives, a villa, a 
tiny little port, deep clear water and no tourists. 

Again writing to the same correspondent he says: 

.. „ Rome. 

My dear Ralph, 

I wish it were possible to accept your kind invitation and the 

Dogaressa's (Mrs. Curtis) but it were easier for a camel to pass through 

a rich man's eye. The time is getting so short. I foresee that I shall 

hang on here till the train starts for Chelsea. ... In spite of scirocco 

and lots of rain we have been seeing the villas within miles round thanks 

to Mrs. Hunter's motor. They are magnificent and I should like 

to spend a summer at Frascati and paint from morning till night at the 

Tortonia or the Falconiere, ilexes and cypresses, fountains and statues 

— ainsi soit il — amen. 

To Mrs. Adrian Stokes he wrote: 

Ronda is a most picturesque place with magnificent scenery. It 
is on the edge of a tremendous cliff that looks across a great hollow 
with fine angular rocky ranges of mountains that would just suit 
Stokes. The objection to it is that the small boys are perfect devils 
and throw stones at painters and worry them out of their wits. 

He had no liking for trim and ordered gardens; they had to 
be derelict or at any rate unkempt, and the more time had 
played undisturbed with the tresses of tree and shrub the 
more was his eye satisfied. Of Aranjuez he wrote: 

This place is perfectly charming, grand gardens with Caver- 
nous avenues and fountains and statues, long neglected — good 
natured friendly people — lunch in the open air under arbours of 
roses. These Spaniards are the most amiable people in the world, they 
put themselves out for you in the most extraordinary way. With the 
common people it is no disadvantage being an American, for their 
newspapers told them that they gave us the most tremendous licking 
in Cuba. And the Artists and better people will do anything for a 

Venice, once his favourite haunt, he thought had been rather 
marred for an artist by "the swarms of larky smart Londoners 


whose goings on fill the Gazette" goings on which, however, never 
failed to afford him amusement. 

These extracts show his fidelity in taste to the environ- 
ment of his childhood and early training. But olive and 
ilex, fountain and statue, sunlight and shade, rocks and 
running water were to him just problems of form and colour, 
opportunities for the exercise of his supreme craftsmanship 
rather than settings for moods induced by association or 

In the winter of 1905 he was in Palestine "getting new fuel 
for his decorative work"; he was disappointed with the result. 

Some new material (he wrote to Lady Lewis) I have secured but 
it is different from what I had in view and not abundant — no 
miraculous draught but I shall still fish here for a while and try to 
bring back some weightier stuff than lots of impossible sketches and 
perhaps useless studies. 

In January, 1906, he was in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem 
when news reached him of his mother's illness and death. He 
was deeply affected. He telegraphed begging that the funeral 
should be delayed till his return. This was done. Meanwhile 
he spent days of agitated distress waiting at Jaffa for a boat. A 
strong tie had been broken. He was a devoted son. 

Everything is dreadful (he wrote) except that her friends were good 
and that death itself came unsuspected and unrecognized. . . .* 

To these tours through Europe in his chosen company he 
owed some of the happiest months of his life. He was away 
from portraits, which by 1909 had become wearisome to him. 
As early as 1906 he had written to Lady Lewis: "I have now got 
a bomb-proof shelter into which I retire when I sniff the coming 
portrait or its trajectory." Abroad he could go where his eye 
led him, and choose his subject; life was plain sailing on a sea of 
summer. He would breakfast at 7.30, and then sally out to 
sketch, working till the light failed. His energy was inexhaus- 
tible. The hours of sunshine were treasured like gold. Sight- 

* Letter to Lady Lewis. 


seeing was reserved for rainy days. In the evenings he would 
play chess, or the piano where one was available — duets, with 
Mrs. de Glehn or Miss Eliza Wedgwood, from Brahms, Schu- 
mann or Albeniz. "The only pleasure," he wrote, "of coming 
back to one's own house is the pleasure of unpacking the bibelots 
one has got elsewhere — good wholesome sentiment." 

Chapter XXII 

SARGENT'S greatest portraits are not the product of any- 
particular period, they lie scattered through his work. In 
the first English years we get the Misses Vickers> Mrs. 
Boit> Mrs. Hemenway, and then in 1895 Coventry Patmore and 
Graham Robertson. In 1897 Mrs. Carl Meyer's portrait was 
shown at the Academy. None of his pictures is more effectively 
organized and composed, none is more melodious. It strikes 
a note of gaiety as of silver bells. There is the optimism of 
spring in the running lines of the composition and the freshness 
of the rose and pink colour which swim through the picture. 
Sumptuousness in dress and furniture tells its story of opulence, 
but it is refined and rarefied, robbed of its insistence, and subdued 
to the central purpose of the design. The colour scheme is 
closely related; remove a ribbon, straighten a fold of the dress, 
release a figure from the pattern of the sofa, or dispense with an 
accent and the whole picture would suffer, its unity would 
crumble. There is nothing obvious or redundant, nothing that 
is not charming, even exciting, in this triumphant artistry. The 
Meyer picture was followed by the Wertheimer series, Miss Jane 
Evans , Mrs. Charles Hunter ', Lady Faudel Phillips and in 1900 
the Wyndham group. 

This is one of his most purely and unmistakably English 
pictures, a tour de force in characterization, drawing and the 
handling of white. Three figures dressed in white, and a white 
sofa in the lower half of the picture presented formidable 
difficulties : a risk of suggesting a section of geological strata. 
The artist has posed the elder sister seated on the back of the sofa, 
in profile, her head slightly turned to the spectators; her delicate 
intellectual beauty dominates the scene and carries the white 
into the upper section of the canvas. Further relief to the mass 
has been obtained by the magnolias, which effect the transition 




into the shadow of the room beyond. The beauty of the picture 
lies not only in the colour and drawing, but in the impression of 
serenity and calm. Sargent has here isolated these sisters from 
the world and encompassed them with their own associations. 
They are back once again in the surroundings that made their 
common bond; their mother's picture by Watts is seen on the 
wall beyond, the noise of life is hushed for the moment. There 
is a charming sentiment in the composition without a trace of 

In the following years the Academy saw the portraits of 
Mrs. Charles Russell, C. S. Lock, Mrs. Leopold Hirsch, the 
Marlborough group, M. Leon Delafosse and in 1907 the portrait 
of Lady Sassoon. 

In the portrait of Lady Sassoon, Sargent has conveyed a subtle 
impression of the individuality of his sitter. Evidently he was 
here confronted with a highly strung temperament, features of 
exceptional distinction and refinement, and a personality kindly, 
alert — even to the point of restlessness — and instinct with pride 
of race. The result is both a study of character and a work 
of art. It is painted with the utmost freedom and dexterity. 
The tumultuous crown of feathers in the hat, the movement 
suggested in the pose of the figure, the quick play of light and 
shade over the black silk cloak, the elegant and sensitive hands, 
all contribute to an impression bordering on flurry. Yet in 
spite of this a certain nobility and calm, deeper than momen- 
tary agitation, is the ultimate effect of the composition. Not 
infrequently Sargent is criticized for opaqueness or leatheriness 
in his paint, for a want of luminosity and charm in his colour; 
here there is no trace of these defects. The delicate ivory white 
of the skin has a quality of transparency, the liveliness of the 
black and the softness of the rose-colour, introduced to give fresh- 
ness to the scheme, are delightful. All has been painted with a 
sure and fluent touch. If the spectator disregards the portrait 
and considers solely the picture, he is at once struck by the beauty 
of the design, its plastic structure, the crisp freshness of the 
colour, and the black background on which the figure has been 
wrought. This has a quality of range and mystery purely 


atmospheric, its depth appears illimitable, an effect which 
Sargent has equally achieved in the case of his portrait of Lord 
Wemyss. Of the latter picture Mr. Downes says: "His lordship 
did not like it at all and was not the least disposed to conceal his 
feelings in the matter." Mr. Downes has been entirely misin- 
formed. The picture, subscribed for by friends, was painted 
for Lord Wemyss* ninetieth birthday. Sargent considered it 
one of the best portraits he had painted, a view which was fully 
shared by the sitter. Nothing is more remarkable in this picture 
than the way in which the dreariness of modern dress has been 
disposed of, and a frock coat and tall hat made to serve the end 
of art. The hat, held in the left hand, reflects a subdued accent 
of light; the lines of the coat barely to be distinguished from 
the background, lose all rigidity in the obscurity, emphasize the 
composition and indicate the upright carriage and dignity of the 
figure. The hands, which supply a half-tone in the lower section 
of the canvas, are a fine example of the painter's gift for modelling, 
and illustrate a topic to which he often referred — namely, the 
effect on the circulation and consequently on the tones of the 
hands when they are held downwards for more than a few 

The picture of Lord Wemyss, 1909, may be regarded as the 
close of Sargent's official career as a portrait painter: after that 
he painted only when importunity made it churlish to refuse, 
or his own decided inclination prompted him to accede. 

It is more difficult with Sargent than with most artists to 
determine the approximate date of any given picture. We can 
see that the Misses Vickers is an early and F. J. H. Jenkinson 
a late work; we can safely assign to the years 1888-89 
certain essays in Impressionism; and we could even feel confident 
that Wineglasses and An Atlantic Storm were painted in his 
youth; but, apart from these instances, his transitions as a 
portrait painter are so slight and so gradual that his pictures 
painted after 1884 show differences of style which are scarcely 

As time progressed and his facility grew, there may be noticed 
a tendency to emphasis, especially in draperies, the folds becoming 


deeper, the planes more complicated, while lights and accents 
are flicked on to the canvas with increasing skill and effect. But 
in the broader aspects of structure, design and colouring his 
style shows no variation that can be related to a year or a decade. 
His best pictures are those with the least definite backgrounds, 
his least successful those that have an out-of-door mise en scene. 
His English scenery in his full-length portraits is cold and arti- 
ficial, often arbitrary as a photographer's studio. In the multi- 
tude of his works his excellence as a painter of animals is too 
frequently lost sight of. Yet who has painted dogs with the 
same characterization, whether we take the self-conscious 
dandyism of the poodles in the pictures of Asher Wertheimer 
and Graham Robertson the fussy intelligence of the Duke of 
Portland's collies, or the care-free repose of the terrier in the 
Hunter group ? Or who has rendered with equal perspicacity 
the slow strength of oxen, the texture of their coats, their 
imperturbability and their gaze of patient enquiry ? Whether he 
is painting a herd of goats on a hillside or horses picketed in their 
lines, he gives their distinguishing character just as he makes the 
utmost use of them for his design. 

Although he gave up portrait painting he went on with his 
charcoal and pencil heads, and a census of these would produce a 
startling figure. It has been found impossible to arrive at even 
an approximate estimate of those he did in London and America. 
A distinguished diplomatist made a habit, when he found himself 
at dinner next to a lady he did not know, of saying: "How do 
you like your Sargent drawing?" He declared that as a con- 
versational gambit it was successful nine times out of ten. But 
it is not by these drawings that Sargent will live: they are like- 
nesses and deliberate exercises in skill; it is only in comparatively 
few that his genius is apparent. 

Though he left a considerable fortune there is little 
doubt that he could have doubled or trebled it. Money was a 
part of the machinery of life in which he took very little interest. 
His charges for portraits varied considerably: for the Vickers 
group (1884) he received £400, the Ladies Aches on group (1901) 
£2,100, for the Baltimore Doctors (1906) £3,000, for the Marl- 


borough group (1906) 2,500 guineas. For full-lengths he received 
1,000 guineas, for lesser pictures prices varying from £500 to 
£800. During the War for two pictures, one of President 
Wilson, the other of Mrs. Duxbury, painted for the British Red 
Cross, he received £10,000 each and to that extent enriched the 
funds of the society. For oil landscapes he asked prices varying 
from £100 to £500, for water-colours seldom more than £50. 
For eighty-three water-colours sold to an American museum in 
1909 he received £4,000. For charcoal portraits he charged at 
first 21 guineas, which price was gradually increased till in 1923 
he began charging 100 guineas. 

With regard to his drawings he wrote to Lady Lewis: "I 
never know what to ask for a mere snapshot especially, if it does 
not happen to be a miraculously lucky one." 

It was with the utmost reluctance that he could be induced, 
for the purpose of sale, to pull out any one of the water-colours 
which used to lie in their frames, jammed one against the other, 
in a large rack on the floor of his studio. If in response to insis- 
tence he acquiesced, he would produce one or two, always with a 
good deal of gutteral protest, pointing out what he considered 
their drawbacks, and qualifying them with some derogatory 
title. "Vegetables," "Dried Seaweed," "Troglodytes of the 
Cordilleras," "Blokes," "Idiots of the Mountains" and "Inter- 
twingles" come back to me as a few of the titles bestowed on 
various renderings of woodland scenery, muleteers, figures on a 
hillside, and of a portrait group on a river bank. Mrs. de Glehn 
remembers a picture he painted in Corfu of three figures, includ- 
ing herself and Miss Wedgwood, in "keepsake" attitudes, 
which he labelled with complete gusto to himself as "Triple 
Bosh." This picture now figures in a South American collection 
under a more official title. 

On another occasion in the Simplon when he had done a 
water-colour of recumbent figures, with his easel fixed in a de- 
pression of the ground, he called the result "A Worm's Eye View." 

Mr. Downes, in his account of Sargent's "Life and Work," 
mentions that he once asked him whether "Darnation, Silly, 
Silly, Pose," an alternative title for Carnation, Lily Lily Rose, 



was attributable to Whistler, and that Sargent replied that it 
did not sound like Whistler. The author of the quip, however, 
was not far to seek. These mock titles, which might be multi- 
plied, sprang from no affectation and were due to no desire to 
belittle what he had done, but were shot to the surface from an 
undercurrent of boyishness which never left him, from a horror 
of pomposity and portentousness about his art, and even, one 
might say, to check and damp down any tendency in others to 
an excess of admiration. They were the play of an essentially 
humble spirit. 

Frequently the prices he asked showed that he had no idea 
of the commercial value of these sketches. Dealers have been 
known, after getting the pictures home, to proffer a further sum 
in acquittal of what had all the appearance of an unconscionable 
bargain. Indeed, the whole process of bargain and sale was 
conducted on such original and topsy-turvy principles that 
amateurs had to employ artifice in order to force the price up to 
a fair level. On one occasion a friend of his, afraid that on a 
straight deal the artist would either make a present of the picture 
or charge a nominal amount, professed to be acting for a South 
African millionaire. A picture was chosen, but Sargent objected 
that he did not want it to go out of the country. It was pointed 
out that the millionaire had a house in London for which the 
picture was wanted. On that understanding the deal was 
concluded, but on terms which remained most inadequate for 
the seller. When Sargent had ascertained the true facts he 

My dear , 

Your methods give me the cold shivers, and I am filled with 
awe when I remember the candid face you showed when I asked you 
if there was any nonsense about your enquiry. If there was a sun 
today it would go down on my perplexity and indecision if not on 
my wrath. I shall have to consult a clairvoyante or the bowels of a 
bird as to what action I must take. 

Yours as a rule, 

John S. Sargent. 

He was more amused than incensed. Enough has been said 
to show that he was the least mercenary of men. He belonged 


neither to those whose generosity is beyond their means nor to 
that larger class whose means are beyond their generosity. He 
gave where assistance was wanted. His disregard of money 
was part of the largeness of his character and outlook. It may 
be doubted if in later years he had the least idea what he was 
worth. Towards the end of his life an occasion arose when it 
became necessary to tell him the amount which he had standing 
to his credit in the United States. He could only say: "It 
can't be mine, they've made a mistake at the Bank, it must belong 
to someone else." As long as he had sufficient means wherewith 
to pursue his art in his own way and, above all, to assist others, 
he was entirely indifferent to money. He made no enquiries 
and left to others the conduct of his affairs. 

rf * 



Chapter XXIII 

WHEN Mr. John Collier was writing his book on 
"The Art of Portrait Painting" he asked Sargent for 
an account of his methods. Sargent replied: "As to 
describing my procedure, I find the greatest difficulty in making 
it clear to pupils, even with the palette and brushes in hand and 
with the model before one, and to serve it up in the abstract 
seems to me hopeless." 

With the assistance, however, of two of his former pupils, 
Miss Heyneman and Mr. Henry Haley, it is possible to obtain 
some idea of his methods. 

When he first undertook to criticise Miss Heyneman's work 
he insisted that she should draw from models and not from 

"If you paint your friends, they and you are chiefly concerned 
about the likeness. You can't discard a canvas when you please and be- 
gin anew — you can't go on indefinitely till you have solved a problem." 
He disapproved (Miss Heyneman continues) of my palette and brushes. 
On the palette the paints had not been put out with any system. 
"You do not want dabs of colour," he said, "you want plenty of 
paint to paint with." Then the brushes came in for derision. "No 
wonder your painting is like feathers if you use these." Having 
scraped the palette clean he put out enough paint so it seemed for a 
dozen pictures. "Painting is quite hard enough" he said "without 
adding to your difficulties by keeping your tools in bad condition. 
You want good thick brushes that will hold the paint and that will 
resist in a sense the stroke on the canvas." He then with a bit of 
charcoal placed the head with no more than a few careful lines over 
which he passed a rag, so that it was on a perfectly clean greyish 
coloured canvas (which he preferred) faintly showing where the lines 
had been that he began to paint. At the start he used sparingly a 
little turpentine to rub in a general tone over the background and to 
outline the head (the real outline where the light and shadow meet, 
not the place where the head meets the background) — to indicate the 



mass of the hair and the tone of the dress. The features were not 
even suggested. This was a matter of a few moments. For the 
rest he used his colour without a medium of any kind, neither oil, 
turpentine or any admixture. "The thicker you paint, the more 
your colour flows" he explained. He had put in this general outline 
very rapidly hardly more than smudges, but from the moment he that 
began really to paint, he worked with a kind of concentrated delibera- 
tion, a slow haste so to speak holding his brush poised in the air for an 
instant and then putting it just where and how he intended it to fall. 
... To watch the head develop from the start was like the sudden 
lifting of a blind in a dark room. . . . Every stage was a revelation. 
For one thing he put his easel directly next to the sitter so that when he 
walked back from it he saw the canvas and the original in the same 
light, at the same distance, at the same angle of vision. . . . He aimed 
at once for the true general tone of the background, of the hair and 
for the transition tone between the two. He showed me how the 
light flowed over the surface of the cheek into the background itself. 

At first he worked only for the middle tones, to model in large 
planes, as he would have done had the head been an apple. In short, 
he painted, as a sculptor models, for the great masses first, but with 
this difference that the sculptor can roughly lump in his head and cut 
it down afterwards, while the painter, by the limitations of his material, 
is bound to work instantly for an absolute precision of mass, in the 
colour and outline he intends to preserve. Economy of effort in every 
way, he preached, the sharpest self-control the fewest strokes possible 
to express a fact, the least slapping about of purposeless paint. He 
believed, with Carolus Duran, that painting was a science which it 
was necessary to acquire in order to make of it an art. "You must 
draw with your brush," he said, " as readily, as unconsciously almost 
as you draw with your pencil." He advised doing a head for a portrait 
slightly under life-size to counteract the tendency to paint larger than 
life. Even so, he laid in a head slightly larger than he intended to leave 
it, so that he could model the edges with and into the background. 

The hills of paint vanished from the palette yet there was no 
heaviness on the canvas; although the shadow was painted as heavily 
as the light, it retained its transparency. "If you see a thing trans- 
parent, paint it transparent; don't get the effect by a thin stain show- 
ing the canvas through. That's a mere trick. "The more delicate the 
transition the more you must study it for the exact tone" The lightness 
and certainty of his touch was marvellous to behold. Never was there 
any painter who could indicate a mouth with more subtlety, with 
more mobility, or with keener differentiation. As he painted it, the 
mouth bloomed out of the face, an integral part of it, not, as in the 


great majority of portraits, painted on it, a separate thing. He showed 
how much could be expressed in painting the form of the brow, the 
cheekbones, and the moving muscles around the eyes and mouth, 
where the character betrayed itself most readily; and under his hands, 
a head would be an amazing likeness long before he had so much as 
indicated the features themselves. In fact, it seemed to me the mouth 
and nose just happened with the modelling of the cheeks, and one eye, 
living luminous, had been placed in the socket so carefully prepared 
for it (like a poached egg dropped on a plate, he described the process), 
when a clock in the neighbourhood struck and Mr. Sargent was suddenly 
reminded that he had a late appointment with a sitter. In his absorp- 
tion he had quite forgotten it. He hated to leave the canvas. " If only 
one had oneself under perfect control," he once said to me, "one could 
always paint a thing, finally in one sitting." (Now and then he accom- 
plished this.) "Not that you are to attempt this," he admonished 
me, "if you work on a head for a week without indicating the features 
you will have learnt something about the modelling of the head." 

Every brush stroke while he painted had modelled the head or 
further simplified it. He was careful to insist that there were many 
roads to Rome, that beautiful painting would be the result of any 
method or no method, but he was convinced that by the method he 
advocated, and followed all his life, a freedom could be acquired, a 
technical mastery that left the mind at liberty to concentrate on a 
deeper or more subtle expression. 

I had been taught to paint a head in three separate stages, each 
one repeating — in charcoal, in thin colour-wash and in paint — the same 
things. By the new method the head developed by one process. Till 
almost the end there had been no features nor accents, simply a solid 
shape growing out of and into a background with which it was one. 
When at last he did put them each accent was studied with an in- 
tensity that kept his brush poised in mid-air till eye and hand had 
steadied to one purpose, and then . . . bling ! the stroke resounded 
almost like a note of music. It annoyed him very much if the accents 
were carelessly indicated without accurate consideration of their com- 
parative importance. They were, in a way, the nails upon which the 
whole structure depended for solidity. 

Miss Heyneman subsequently left a study she had made, at 
Sargent's studio with a note begging him to write, "yes" or 
"no," according to whether he approved or not. He wrote the 
next day: 

" I think your study shows great progress — much better values and 

consequently greater breath of effect with less monotony in the detail. 


I still think you ought to paint thicker — paint all the half tones and 
general passages quite thick — and always paint one thing into another 
and not side by side until they touch. There are a few hard and small 
places where you have not followed this rule sternly enough." . . . 

A few days later he called. Miss Heyneman's usual model 
had failed, and she had persuaded her charwoman to sit instead; 
Sargent offered to paint the head of the model. 

This old head was perhaps easier to indicate with its prominent 
forms, but the painting was more subtle. I recall my astonishment 
when he went into the background with a most brilliant pure blue 
where I had seen only unrelieved darkness. "Don't you see it?" 
he asked, " the way the light quivers across it ?" I had not perceived 
it; just as, till each stroke emphasized his intention, I did not see how 
he managed to convey the thin hair stretched tightly back over the 
skull without actually painting it. He painted light or shadow, a 
four-cornered object with the corners worn smooth, as definite in form 
as it was idefinite in colour, and inexpressibly delicate in its transitions. 
He concentrated his whole attention upon the middle tone that 
carried the light into the shadow. He kept up a running commentary 
of explanation, as he went, appraising each stroke, often condemning 
it and saying: "That is how not to do it ! . . . Keep the planes 
free and simple," he would suggest, drawing a full large brush down 
the whole contour of a cheek, obliterating apparently all the modelling 
underneath, but it was always further to simplify that he took these 
really dreadful risks, smiling at my ill-concealed perturbation and 
quite sympathizing with it. 

This second painting taught me that the whole value of a portrait 
depends upon its first painting, and that no tinkering can ever rectify 
an initial failure. Provided every stage is correct a painter of Mr. 
Sargent's calibre could paint for a week on one head and never retrace 
his steps but he never attempted to correct one. He held that it was 
as impossible for a painter to try to repaint a head where the under- 
structure was wrong, as for a sculptor to remodel the features of a 
head that has not been understood in the mass. That is why Mr. 
Sargent often repainted the head a dozen times, he told me that he 
had done no less than sixteen of Mrs. Hammersley. 

When he was dissatisfied he never hesitated to destroy what 
he had done. He spent three weeks, for instance, painting 
Lady D^bernon in a white dress. One morning, after a few 
minutes of what was to be the final setting, he suddenly set to 


work to scrape out what he had painted. The present portrait in 
a black dress, was done in three sittings. 

He did the same with the portrait of Mrs. Wedgwood and 
many others. Miss Eliza Wedgwood relates that in 1896 
he consented, at the instance of Alfred Parsons, to paint 
her mother for £250. She sat to him twelve times, but after 
the twelfth sitting he said they would both be the better for a 
rest. He then wrote to Miss Wedgwood that he was humiliated 
by his failure to catch the variable and fleeting charm of her 
mother's personality — that looked like the end of the portrait. 
Some weeks later he saw Mrs. Wedgwood at Broadway, and 
struck with a new aspect he said: "If you will come up next 
week we will finish that portrait." She came to Tite Street, 
a new canvas was produced, and in six sittings he completed the 
picture which was shown at the Memorial Exhibition. 

Miss Heyneman continues: 

"Paint a hundred studies," he would say, "keep any number of 
clean canvases ready, of all shapes and sizes so that you are never held 
back by the sudden need of one. You can't do sketches enough. 
Sketch everything and keep your curiosity fresh." He thought it was 
excellent practice to paint flowers, for the precision necessary in the 
study of their forms and the pure brilliancy of their colour. It 
refreshed the tone of one's indoor portraits, he insisted, to paint land- 
scape or figures out of doors, as well as to change one's medium now 
and then. He disliked pastel, it seemed to him too artificial, or else 
it was made to look like oil or water colour, and in that case why not 
use oil or water colour. . . . 

Upon one occasion, after painting for me, he saw one hard edge, 
and drew a brush across it, very lightly saying at the same time " This 
is a disgraceful thing to do, and means slovenly painting. Don't ever 
let me see you do it. ..." I have also seen the assertion that he 
painted a head always in one sitting. He painted a head always in 
one process, but that could be carried over several sittings. He never 
attempted to repaint one eye or to raise or lower it, for he held that the 
construction of a head prepared the place for the eye, and if it was 
wrongly placed, the underconstruction was wrong, and he ruthlessly 
scraped and repainted the head from the beginning. That is one 
reason why his brushwork looks so fluent and easy, he took more trouble 
to keep the unworried look of a fresh sketch than many a painter puts 
upon his whole canvas. 


The following extracts from Mr. Haley's account of Sargent's 
teaching at the Royal Academy Schools, 1 897-1900, throw- 
further light on his method: 

The Significance of his teaching was not always immediately 
apparent; it had the virtue of revealing itself with riper experience. 
His hesitation was probably due to a searching out for something to 
grasp in the mind of the student, that achieved, he would unfold a 
deep earnestness, subdued but intense. He was regarded by some 
students as an indifferent teacher by others as a "wonder"; as a 
"wonder" I like to regard him. 

He dealt always with the fundamentals. Many were fogged as to 
his aim. These fundamentals had to be constantly exercised and 

"When drawing from the model," he said, "never be without the 
plumb line in the left hand" — Every one has a bias, either to the right 
hand or the left of the vertical. The use of the plumb line rectifies 
this error and developes a keen appreciation of the vertical. 

He then took up the charcoal, with arm extended to its full length, 
and head thrown well back; all the while intensely calculating, he 
slowly and deliberately mapped the proportions of the large masses of 
a head and shoulders, first the poise of the head upon the neck, its 
relation with the shoulders. Then rapidly indicate the mass of the 
hair, then spots locating the exact position of the features, at the same 
time noting their tone values and special character, finally adding any 
further accent or dark shadow which made up the head, the neck, the 
shoulders and head of the sternum. 

After his departure I immediately plumbed those points before 
any movement took place of the model and found them very accurate. 

A formula of his for drawing was " Get your spots in their right 
place and your lines precisely at their relative angles." 

On one occasion in the evening life school I well remember Sargent 
complaining that no one seemed concerned about anything more than 
an approximate articulation of the head upon the neck and shoulders. 
The procedure was, to register carefully the whole pose at the first 
evening's sitting of two hours. The remainder of the sittings were 
devoted to making a thoroughly finished tone drawing in chalk, 
adhering to the original outline, working from the head downwards, 
thus the drawing was not affected by any chance deviation from the 
original pose by the model. Sargent could not reconcile himself to 
this, the method he tried to inculcate was to lay in the drawing afresh 
at every sitting getting in one combined effort a complete interpreta- 
tion of the model. The skull to articulate properly upon the vertebras. 


The same with all the limbs, a keen structural easy supple, moveable 
machine, every figure with its own individual characteristic as like as 
possible, an accomplishment requiring enormous practice and ex- 
perience with charcoal, but taken as a goal to aim at very desirable, 
a method he followed in his own painting. To the student it meant a 
continually altered drawing, to portray the varying moods of the model. 

In reference to these drawings he would frequently say: " Draw the 
things seen with the keenest point and let the things unseen fuse 
themselves into the adjoining tones." 

In connection with the painting, the same principles maintained, 
"Painting was an interpretation of tone. Through the medium of 
colour drawn with the brush." "Use yourself to a large brush." 
"Do not starve your palette." "Accurately place your masses with 
the charcoal." "Then lay in the back ground" about half an inch 
over the border of the adjoining tones, true as possible, then lay in 
the mass of hair, recovering the drawing and fusing the tones with the 
background, and overlapping the flesh of the forehead, then for the 
face lay in hold by a middle flesh tone, light on the left side and dark 
on the shadow side, always recovering the drawing and most carefully 
fusing the flesh into the background, painting flesh into background 
and background into flesh, until the exact quality is obtained, both in 
colour and tone the whole resembling a wig maker's block. Then 
follows the most marked and characteristic accents of the features 
in place and tone and drawing as accurate as possible, painting de- 
liberately into wet ground, testing your work by repeatedly standing 
well back, viewing it as a whole, a very important thing. After this take 
up the subtler tones which express the retiring planes of the head, 
temples, chin, nose, and cheeks with neck, then the still more subtle 
drawing of mouth and eyes, fusing tone into tone all the time, till 
finally with deliberate touch the high lights are laid in, this occupies 
the first sitting and should the painting not be satisfactory the whole 
is ruthlessly fogged by brushing together, the object being not to 
allow any parts well done, to interfere with that principle of oneness, 
or unity of every part; the brushing together engendered an appetite 
to attack the problem afresh at every sitting each attempt resulting 
in a more complete visualization in the mind. The process is repeated 
until the canvas is completed. 

Sargent would press home the fact, that the subtleties of paint 
must be controlled by continually viewing the work from a distance, 
" stand back — get well away — and you will realize the great danger 
there is of overstating a tone — keep the thing as a whole in your mind. 
Tones so subtle as not to be detected on close acquaintance can only 
be adjusted by this means." 



When we were gathered in front of our display of sketches for 
composition awaiting some criticism Sargent would walk along the 
whole collection, rapidly looking at each one, and without singling out 
any in particular for comment, he would merely say "Get in your 
mind the sculptors view of things, arrange a composition, decoratively, 
easy, and accidental," this would be said in a hesitating manner and 
then he would quietly retire. On one occasion, when the subject set 
for a composition was a portrait the criticism was "not one of them 
seriously considered," many we had thought quite good, as an indica- 
tion of what might be tried while a portrait was in progress. That 
would not do for Sargent. A sketch must be seriously planned, tried 
and tried again, turned about until it satisfies every requirement, and 
a perfect visualization attained. A sketch must not be merely a 
pattern of pleasant shapes, just pleasing to the eye, just merely a fancy. 
It must be a very possible thing, a definite arrangement — everything 
fitting in a plan and in true relationship frankly standing upon a hori- 
zontal plane coinciding in their place with a pre-arranged line. As a 
plan is to a building, so must the sketch be to the picture. 

His general remarks were: "cultivate an ever continuous power of 
observation. Wherever you are, be always ready to make slight notes 
of postures, groups and incidents. Store up in the mind without 
ceasing a continuous stream of observations from which to make 
selections later. Above all things get abroad, see the sunlight, and 
everything that is to be seen, the power of selection will follow. Be 
continually making mental notes, make them again and again, test 
what you remember by sketches till you have got them fixed. Do 
not be backward at using every device and making every experiment 
that ingenuity can devise, in order to attain that sense of complete- 
ness which nature so beautifully provides, always bearing in mind 
the limitations of the materials in which you work." 

It was not only students who acknowledged their debt to 
Sargent. Hubert Herkomer in his reminiscences writes: "I 
have learnt much from Sargent in the planning of lights and 
darks, the balance in tonality of background in its relation to the 
figure, the true emphasizing of essentials." 

Sargent was well aware of the pitfalls that await the painter 
of the fashionable world, and as sitter after sitter took his place 
on the dais in his Tite Street studio he seemed to become more 
sensible of them. He tried again and again to escape, and he 


often, in his letters, expressed his fatigue. He wearied of the 
limitations imposed by his commissioned art. Painting those 
who want to be painted, instead of those whom the artist wants 
to paint, leads inevitably to a bargain, to a compromise between 
the artist's individuality and the claims of the model. Mannerism 
becomes a way out; that which pleases becomes an aim. Artistic 
problems give way before personal considerations; the decorative 
quality of a picture takes a secondary place. Sargent's sincerity, 
the driving need he had to express himself in his own way, his 
satiety with models imposed on him by fashion, culminated in 
revolt. He was forced, now and then, it is true, to return to his 
portraits, but his Boston work absorbed him more and more. The 
call of his studio in Fulham Road when he was in London, and 
of the Alps and the south of Europe in summer, came first. In 
1 910 his exhibits at the Academy, instead of portraits, were 
Glacier Streams, Albanian Olive Gatherers, Vespers and A Garden 
at Corfu; at the New English Art Club, Flannels, On the 
Guidecca, The Church of Santa Maria della Salute, A Florentine 
Nocturne, A Moraine and Olive Grove. 

When in 1901 Mr. J. B. Manson, then a student, wrote to 
Sargent for advice he received the following reply: 

31, Tite Street, 

Chelsea, S.W., 

Dear Sir, ** 3 ° M I901 - 

In reply to your questions I fear that I can only give you the 
most general advice. The only school in London of which I have any 
personal knowledge is the Royal Academy. 

If the limit of age does not prevent your entering it I should advise 
you to do so. 

There are also very good teachers at the Slade School. 

You say you are studying painting to become a portrait painter. 
I think you would be making a great mistake if you kept that only in 
view during the time you intend to work in a life class — where the 
object of the student should be to acquire sufficient command over 
his material to do whatever nature presents to him. The convention- 
alities of portrait painting are only tolerable in one who is a good 
painter — if he is only a good portrait-painter he is nobody. Try to 


become a painter first and then apply your knowledge to a special 
branch — but do not begin by learning what is required for a special 
branch, or you will become a mannerist. 

Believe me, 

Yours truly, 

John S. Sargent. 

He was too conscientious to take refuge in a formula, but he 
had drawn too largely on his resources of selection and arrange- 
ment in relation to a single aspect of an artist's calling. He 
had not done violence to his sincerity, but it was time to turn 
to subjects in which there was more scope for design and com- 
position, invention and variety. He now became immersed in 
decorative work and studies from nature. 

Chapter XXIV 

MR. GEORGE MOORE observes in one of his essays 
that "the criticisms of a creative artist never amount 
to more than an ingenious defence of his own work." 
However true this may be, Sargent's sincerity gave peculiar 
authority to the criticisms which, at too rare intervals, he made 
upon other painters. For the most part he was evasive about his 
contemporaries. He was the least pontifical person imaginable, 
and fellow-feeling with craftsmen made him reluctant to give 
adverse criticism the stamp of his authority. He was little 
given to theory and took but a lukewarm interest in modern 
criticism. I do not know that he ever sought a formula for the 
excellences common to a Monet and a Peruvian vase, a Rubens 
and a Huang Ch'uan. But it would not have been inconsistent 
with his view to have defined the aim of art as essential expression, 
the endeavour, that is to say, to express by the most persuasive 
and revealing means the essential qualities of the object. Good 
art therefore would differ from bad art in so far as it succeeded 
in rendering the essential. His view would certainly, while 
allowing a wide latitude of selection and omission, not counten- 
ance that indifference to representation which is common to 
much recent art. We have seen with what admiration he 
regarded the work of Monet. He did not extend this in the 
same unqualified way to Monet's followers and successors. In 
1910-11 an exhibition of Post-Impressionists and others was held 
at the Grafton Galleries. Through some misunderstanding 
Sargent had been mentioned by Mr. Roger Fry in an article 
in the Nation as a supporter of the Post-Impressionist school. 
On January 7, 191 1, he wrote the following letter to the 




To the Editor of the "Nation" 

My attention has been called to an article by Mr. Roger Fry, 
called " A Postscript on Post-Impressionism " in your issue of December 
24th in which he mentions me as being among the champions of the 
group of painters now being shown at the Grafton Gallery. I should 
be obliged if you would allow me space in your columns for these few 
words of rectification. 

Mr. Fry has been entirely misinformed, and if I had been inclined 
to join in the controversy, he would have known that my sympathies 
were in the exactly opposite direction as far as the novelties are 
concerned, that have been most discussed and that this show has been 
my first opportunity of seeing. I had declined Mr. Fry's request to 
place my name on the initial list of promoters of the Exhibition on the 
ground of not knowing the work of the painters to whom the name of 
Post-Impressionists can be applied; it certainly does not apply to 
Manet or Cezanne. Mr. Fry may have been told — and have believed 
— that the sight of those paintings had made me a convert to his faith 
in them. 

The fact is that I am absolutely sceptical as to their having any 
claim whatever to being works of art, with the exception of some of 
the pictures by Gauguin that strike me as admirable in color, and in 
color only. 

But one wonders what will Mr. Fry not believe, and one is 
tempted to say what will he not print ? y 

John S. Sargent. 

When in 191 2 Mr. D. S. MacColl wrote an article in the 
Nineteenth Century, "A Year of Post-Impressionism," he 
received from Sargent the following letter: 

My dear MacColl, 

I have enjoyed reading your article on Post-Impressionism 
very much — I should think it would bring a good many people to their 
senses — I admire the certainty with which you have refrained from 
hinting at the possibility of bad faith on the part of people like Matisse 
or at the theory that I am inclined to believe that the sharp picture 
dealers invented and boomed this new article of commerce. 

I think you have exactly weighed the merits of Cezanne and rather 
over-estimated the "realism" of Van Gogh whose things look to me 


like imitations made in coral or glass of objects in a vacuum. As to 
Gauguin, of course you had to deal with him for the sake of your argu- 
ment, as if there were something in him besides rich and rare colour. 
Some day if we ever meet I should like to discuss with you the 
meaning of the word "values" and the word Impressionism. 

Yours sincerely, 

John S. Sargent. 

In order to appreciate the value of Sargent's concurrence 
with Mr. MacColl's estimate of Cezanne, the following extract 
from the article may be quoted: 

Cezanne was not a great classic; he was an artist often clumsy, 
always in difficulties, very limited in his range, absurdly so in most 
numerous productions, but "with quite a little mood" and the 
haunting idea of an art built upon the early Monet, at which he could 
only hint. He oscillated between Moneys earlier and finer manner, 
that of dark contours and broadly divided colour, and a painting based 
on the early Monet, all colour in a high key. In this manner he pro- 
duced certain landscapes tender and beautiful in colour, but the figure 
was too difficult for him, and from difficulties he escaped into the still 
lifes I have spoken of, flattened jugs, apples, and napkins like blue tin 
that would clank if they fell. What is fatal to the claim set up for him 
as a deliberate designer, creating eternal images out of the momentary 
lights of the Impressionists, is the fact that his technique, remains 
that of the Impressionists, a sketcher's technique, adapted for snatch- 
ing hurriedly at effects that will not wait. 

It is clear that Sargent was from the first definitely hostile 
to the more advanced Post-Impressionists; he receded very 
little, if at all, from that position. He regarded the Cubists, 
their followers and offshoots with uncompromising dis- 
approval. He did not consider that either they or even the 
great majority of Post-Impressionists, by slighting represen- 
tation, were contributing in any way whatsoever, as was claimed 
for them by a leading critic, "to establishing more and 
more firmly the fundamental laws of expressive form in its 
barest and most abstract elements." He held that it could be 
more effectually and much more emotionally attained by repre- 
senting also the visual and spiritual values of the thing seen. But 
like Monet, he was no respecter of theories. He did not pause 


to discuss why he painted as he did, he worked in the idiom of 
an inherited tradition, refreshing it with vitality and vigour, 
enriching it with a modernized technique, and pushing it to 
what many may consider its utmost limits. All around him 
the pictorial and plastic arts were developing on lines divergent 
from his own, while criticism was being forced to find formulae 
and theories to fit the new movement. In an epoch of rapid 
change he pursued his way undeflected. Charles Furse regarded 
him as one of the five great Masters of portrait painting of the 
world. When he died in 1924 Mr. Roger Fry concluded his 
review of Sargent's work by saying: "I am sure that he was no 
less distinguished and genuine as a man than, in my opinion, he 
was striking and undistinguished as an illustrator and non- 
existent as an artist."* These two opinions mark the limits of 
possible divergence on the value of Sargent's art. No doubt 
his fame will be subject to many oscillations in future, but it 
is, at any rate, inconceivable that posterity should agree with 
Mr. Fry. 

Sir Charles Holmes in his well-known work "Notes on the 
Art of Rembrandt," while drawing a comparison between 
Rembrandt and Hals, has dealt with the method and the charac- 
teristics of the painter of the Laughing Cavalier. Sargent's 
kinship with Hals is at once apparent. It is true that as Hals 
progressed he simplified his palette and reduced the range of his 
colour, whereas Sargent tended in the opposite direction as his 
facility increased; but in their approach, in their outlook, in the 
broad features of their technique, and in their respective limi- 
tations the resemblance is unmistakable. Sir Charles Holmes 
calls attention to Hals' "conscious fidelity of statement," within 
which the painter "finds room for the exercise of those faculties 
of selection and arrangement that mark the artist as opposed 
to the hack painter"; his sense of design, adequate rather than 
exceptional; his "supreme faculty of representation in oil paint," 
the mapping out of the masses and planes, the swift touches 
of light and shadow at the emphatic points; the manner in 
which "everywhere the strokes of the brush take just the course 

* See also Roger Fry, "Transformations," p. 135. 



that is needed to express the infinite varieties of surfaces and 
substances of which the piece is built up." Such among other 
characteristics establish a definite similarity between the two 
masters. We have already seen that Sargent extolled the 
technical methods of Hals, and looked on him as the portrait 
painter with whom he had most in common. Here it will be of 
interest to recall some of his estimates of other artists. 

At the time of the Ingres Exhibition in Paris (19 14) Sargent 
said to M. Helleu: "Ingres, Raphael and El Greco, these are 
now my admirations, these are what I like." Greco was no new 
admiration. He was an artist of whom Sargent had an exhaustive 
knowledge, and regarded with increasing appreciation. Some 
years before his talk with Helleu he had written to de Glehn 
from Aranjuez: 

Almost immediately on getting to Spain I fell in with Auguste 
Breal and his wife, and we joined forces as we had a lot of letters for 
Toledo and Madrid for the purpose of seeing unknown Grecos. It 
was interesting, but after all the best Grecos are in the churches that 
are known, and in the Prado — there are some new ones there — he is 
certainly one of the very most magnificent old masters. 

In 191 5 a pamphlet was published by a specialist* in Madrid 
to prove that the peculiarities of Greco's drawing were due to 
advanced astigmatism. The pamphlet was sent to Sargent by 
the Duke of Alba, whereupon he wrote as follows: 

31, Tite Street, 

Chelsea, S.W., 
My dear Duke of Alba, Aug. 19th, 1915. 

Many thanks for sending thepamphletonElGreco'sastigma- 
tism — it has interested me very much although I am not absolutely 
convinced. Being very astigmatic myself I am very familiar with the 
phenomena that result from that peculiarity of eyesight, and it seems 
to me very unlikely that an artist should be influenced by them in the 
matter of form and not at all in the matter of colour where they are 
much more noticeable. 

The colouring of Claude Monet is an absolutely genuine document 
perhaps the only genuine one, of the optical phenomena of astigma- 

* "El Astigmatismo del Greco"; G. Beritens, " Especialista en las Enferme- 
dadas de los Ojos." 


tism. The conscious study of these phenomena is called "Impression- 
ism" (but many so-called "Impressionists" are mere imitators of his 
style of execution and perhaps have perfectly normal eyes, and therefore 
have no right to the name). If a man painted conscientiously what 
he saw through a bad opera glass he would note down some of the 
peculiarities of astigmatic vision, the decomposing into prismatic 
colours, and the perturbation when a bright tone comes near a dark 

The Greco shows no trace whatever of these influences. More- 
over the Greco's earlier pictures were full of rich and brilliant colour, 
and his later ones are almost black and white. The contrary change 
is what one might expect in a case of astigmatism, for this condition, 
which breaks up colour into its prismatic elements, increases with age. 

As for the elongation of his figures, it may be partly due to astigma - 
tism, but the Renaissance affords so many examples of this exaggeration 
of elegance that it may also be accounted for as a mannerism of the 
time derived from the imitators of Michael Angelo. Tintoretto, 
the Greco's master, had a tendency that way — and Primaticcio, Parmi- 
gianino, Jean Goujon, and other contemporaries elongated, their 
figures as much as he did, for the sake of elegance and not because of 
astigmatism. Even the most fervent admirer of El Greco cannot deny 
that he had some very obvious affectations, for instance the extra- 
ordinary airs and graces of his hands. Why should St. Francis in 
ecstasy and the Magdalen in the desert be making "des effets de mains" 
if the Greco did not wish to be elegant quand meme ? 

I find that I have inflicted an interminable letter on you — if you 
get through it, it will be thanks to your being I dare say without many 
distractions in your present abode. I hope you are well and that you 
will be coming to London one of these days. 

Yours sincerely, 

John S. Sargent. 

The view that astigmatism decomposes into prismatic colours 
is novel and would scarcely find scientific support. But coming 
from Sargent, himself, as we know, astigmatic, it has a peculiar 
interest, being based on his own experience and the close obser- 
vation of phenomena to which he paid much attention. 

On July 1 6, 1923, he delivered a short address at the Royal 
Academy in celebration of the bicentenary birth of Sir Joshua 
Reynolds. This involved the two things he most dreaded, 
publicity and a speech. At first he said nothing would induce 
him to read the address himself, but he finally consented. The 


meeting was held in the evening in the main gallery of the 
Academy. When Sargent rose in his place there was a tense 
silence, a nervous curiosity. His record as a public speaker was 
known to a sympathetic audience. It was evident that he was 
deeply agitated, the page from which he was to read fluttered 
in his hands like a leaf in a breeze. His opening sentences were 
scarcely audible, spoken in a low conversational tone with his 
eyes bent low on his manuscript. As he progressed, however, 
his voice gained a little in strength, though still broken by 
nervousness. It was an ordeal both for speaker and audience. 
When he finished there was a burst of vehement applause which 
showed the affection and esteem in which he was held. 


The great Master whose bicentenary we celebrate to-day in this 
Institution that he founded and of which he is the greatest glory, is an 
instance of that law by which the period of an artist is always manifest, 
whether his work conforms to older standards or points to future ones. 
In painting Sir Joshua Reynolds follows the highest traditions of the 
past — it is in portraiture, and by a new tendency of portraiture that 
he shows as a man of his own time. 

Vandyck and Franz Hals had already shown the direction of this 
tendency, which involved a gradual departure from the extreme 
gravity of characterization of the earlier Masters — The conscious 
dignity and inviolable reserve that mark the personages of Titian and 
Velasquez, had given way by degrees to a more intimate and less formal 
bearing. Sir Joshua's subjects and those of his contemporaries seem, 
without loss of dignity, to have a more human way with them, just 
as Rembrandt's allow one a deeper communion with their mystery. 
The quiet eyes of the elder portraits hold one at a distance and seem 
to transpose the relation of the observer and the observed. 

By a slow change of fashion or of taste this barrier of severance 
fell away, and there entered into the art of portraiture a new quality 
of curiosity and analysis. Sir Joshua came long before the last stages 
of this evolution, and his people, through all the boldness and frank- 
ness of his vision, still hold their own and keep the distance that great 
portraiture always maintains. 

Technically, it is well known, his methods and processes were those 
of the great Venetians. His discourses show him to have been extra- 
ordinarily eclectic, and alive to the aims and qualities of the other 
Italian Schools; but in his work he was always a Venetian, practising 


an indirect method that involved various preparatory stages and that 
is practically no longer in use to-day. 

A change has come with the influence of landscape and with the 
study of out-of-door effects — These have revealed an unlimited range 
of new relations of the figure to its surroundings. Instead of the 
figure being, as of old, almost always made the principal centre of 
light, it is now-a-days given the most varying place in the scale, and 
the methods of painting have changed with the need of a swifter 
notation of passing effects and novel relations. 

Perhaps, for the painter, Sir Joshua's method of lighting is one of his 
chief originalities. He invented what, with him and with his followers, 
became a formula — that peculiar play of vivid light on a face that 
abolishes half-tones and gives an extraordinary emphasis of accent to 
the features and the few small shadows. It is known that his studio, 
had a very small window that lit his sitter like a bull's-eye lantern, 
giving an effect of simplification that Sir Joshua was certainly the 
first to make his own. Needless to say, although this method at once 
became common property, his own examples of the use of it have never 
been surpassed. 

It must be left to individual taste to choose which most to admire, 
the simpler portraits like, among many others, the portentous head 
of Dr. Johnson, so grand in character and suggestion, or those more 
fanciful compositions in which Sir Joshua invested a portrait with all 
the charm of a decorative picture. His resources in this line were 
unbounded, and the setting, however romantic, in which he sometimes 
placed his people never detracted from their interest as men and 

Perhaps there are no greater examples of this mastery than the two 
portraits that are the Royal Academy's proudest possessions, pictures 
of dim splendour, where, over all the apparatus and pomp and insignia 
of Royalty, two calm faces hold us enthralled. 

It is well to do homage to their author in the presence of these 
noble works. 

Another criticism of Sir Joshua is contained in a letter which 
he wrote after I had asked him to look at a portrait of that Master 
at a dealers shop. "I didn't like the Reynolds," he wrote. "It 
is too early to have any of his richness and too late for his good 
old early hardness. Miss Montgomery ogles you under lowered 
brows and displays vague hands and you are not amused." 
He was very much given to dividing the work of individual 
painters into periods, sometimes rather arbitrarily it seemed, 


and showing a strong preference for one period over another. 
As it was with Reynolds, so with Turner, whose early work as 
illustrated by the Wreck of an Orange Ship he admired 
almost to the exclusion of his later and visionary ecstasies of 
coloured mists and shimmering vapour. In the same way he 
drew a sharp distinction between the early and late painting of 
Monet, considering that he never surpassed, if he ever equalled, 
the Olympiad 

Equally in the case of Rodin he drew a sharp line. In 1902 he 
wrote to Mr. MacColl: 

Dear MacColl, 

Use my name by allmeansonthelist — I would be delighted to 
further the scheme of having a good example of Rodin in a London 
gallery. ... In case I don't turn up let me say that Rodin's early 
work, either the "Age d'arain" or the St. John seems to me far finer 
than most of his later things and I hope that it might be one of those 
that would be tried for — and I would gladly subscribe. 

In later years his interest in pictures seemed to centre rather 
in their craftsmanship than their significance; he was more 
taken up with the means employed than the end achieved. 
Composition assumed an increasingly important place in his 
artistic outlook. "I find as I grow old — probably a sign of 
senile decay" — he said to Mr. William James, "that I care less 
and less about the painting of things 'just the way they look,' 
and get more interested in — well, something more in the nature 
of a Wedgwood plaque." This was a notable avowal from one 
whose whole talent had been devoted to the painting of things 
"in the way they looked." It was probably the cry of the artist 
sated with portraiture, and absorbed by the exercise of his 
imagination in the field of decoration. His views often seemed 
"queer" or "curious" (to use two of his favourite words) to 
those who heard them; as when he complained that Constable 
was too fond of putting fine and stormy weather on the same 
canvas; or when he criticized Albert Durer as a draughtsman; 
or expressed surprise that William Blake with such originality 
in his ideas should have chosen an idiom so conventional by which 

* See ante, p. 102. 


to express them. Equally his indifference to the Dutch school 
of landscape painters was always surprisingly comprehensive, 
and not a little disconcerting. 

In his introductory notes for exhibitions of the works of 
Brabazon and Zuloaga* he shows the real enlightenment of his 
critical powers. 

The preface to a catalogue of the works of Robert Brough 
is an appreciation of a younger artist who was also Sargent's 
friend. Brough was fatally injured in a railway accident on 
January 19, 1905. A telegram had brought the news late on the 
night of the nineteenth. The next morning some friends of 
Brough went to Tite Street to consult with Sargent as to what 
could be done for the injured man; they found that Sargent had 
taken the six o'clock morning train for Sheffield. He arrived at 
the hospital in time to see his friend before he died. 

3, Tite Street, 

Chelsea, S.W. 

If any aid were needed for the comprehension of work whose charm 
is so irresistible as that of the late and much regretted Robert Brough, 
visitors to the present Exhibition might seek it in comparing his style 
with that of Charles Furse whose works were shown in the same rooms 
a year ago. Excepting in the sad similarity of their early and tragic 
deaths, the contrast between these two artistic talents is absolute and 
enhances their respective claims to our admiration. 

Furse's rugged strength and emphasis set off the grace, the fluidity 
the lightness of touch that are so delightful in Brough; that very rare 
quality of surface that seems to make the actual paint a precious 
substance is also brought out by contrast with the handling of a painter 
who seemed too impetuous in the expression of his intentions to care 
to be exquisite in his method. Whereas the one struck ample themes 
and sounded passionate music, the other was blessed with the gift of 
what corresponds to a pure and melodious voice. The developing 
of this natural gift into a perfectly supple and practised medium seems 
to be the direction in which his progress can best be traced when one 
follows it through the interesting series of portraits that are now 
gathered together in tribute to his memory. 

In the summer of 191 1, at Munich, on his way to the Tyrol, 
he received a letter from Mrs. Abbey on June 28, begging him 

* See Appendix. 


to return at once as her husband lay dying and was in anxiety 
about the completion of his large canvases. He arrived at Tite 
Street on June 30 in time to supervise the work. 
To Lady Lewis he wrote: 

I am all day long busy from morning till night every day at the 
White City — horrid fate in this heat — I am looking after some work 
there of another man's who is ill and to whose rescue I had to come. 

Before he left he was able to see Edwin Abbey and assure him 
that the alterations had been successfully completed. When 
Abbey's work, in the year after his death, was severely criticized 
by Robert Ross in the Morning Post, Sargent at once intervened 
on behalf of his friend: 

My dear Ross, J j- y • 

I am very glad to see that you are answering protests on your 

article about Abbey, because it may give you the opportunity of 

removing the impression that you have chosen this moment to make 

a one sided attack. Surely in reviewing his life's work at this final 

exhibition you must recognize his particular quality of dramatic 

insight and invention, his endless variety of characterization, his 

humour, his pathos and his occasional grimness. You have hurt a 

good many feelings by an apparent want of feeling at a time when hats 

are taken off. It would be handsome of you as you are still writing 

on the subject to appease his ghost by a mention of his good qualities 

as well as those that you dislike. 

Do you see no imagination and beauty in those two decorative 

designs of the Puritan Ships and the Miners Going Down into the 

Earth? v 

Yours sincerely, 

John S. Sargent. 

Chapter XXV 

COROT is reported to have said during the righting on 
the barricades in 1848: "What is the matter? Are we 
not satisfied with the Government ?" Detachment from 
events beyond the studio or study walls has been characteristic 
of many great artists. During the siege of Paris Gautier wrote: 

Pendant les guerres de l'Empire 
Goethe, au bruit du canon brutal, 
Fit le divan occidental. 

Comme Goethe sur son divan 
A Weimar s'isolait des choses 
Et d'Hafiz effeuillait les roses. 

Sans prendre garde a l'ouragan 
Qui fouettait mes vitres fermees, 
Moi, j'ai fait emaux et camees. 

This spirit of isolation belonged markedly to Sargent. He 
had, as we have seen, no business instinct whatever; he left 
the management of his affairs to others and was ignorant of 
the way they were conducted. He extended this ignorance, 
coupled with considerable indifference, to the administration 
of the world's affairs. He read no newspapers; he had the 
sketchiest knowledge of current movements outside art; his 
receptive credulity made him accept fabulous items of informa- 
tion without question. He would have been puzzled to answer 
if he were asked how nine-tenths of the population lived, he 
would have been dumbfoundered if asked how they were 

It was rather surprising in a man of reading and culture, but 
there it was; but while his ignorance of how the world was run 



was sometimes disconcerting in conversation, it was disarming 
in its simplicity. 

When the War broke out he failed at first to realize its sig- 
nificance; he was very slow in relating himself to it. In this 
he differed strikingly from Henry James, who was consumed from 
the outset with a flame of intense and passionate sympathy for 
the cause of the Allies. Indeed, Henry James was so little able 
to understand Sargent's aloofness in the early part of the War 
that their friendship suffered from a temporary coolness. 

August, 1914, found Sargent painting in the Dolomites with 
Mr. and Mrs. Adrian Stokes and Colonel Ernest Armstrong in a 
remote part of the mountains. W 7 hen news reached them that 
War had been declared Sargent's sole anxiety was for the fate 
of his sister Emily, who was in the north of France. As soon 
as he heard of her safety, he began unconcernedly painting 
again. Towards the end of August Colonel Armstrong was 
carried off as a prisoner of war by the Austrians to Trieuil, a few 
hours' journey away. He was soon in difficulties with the authori- 
ties, but Sargent in the mountains "with the high pasturing 
kine" went on with his painting. The War might have been 
in another planet for all the impression it made on his mind. 
The world might rock and crumble unperceived by him in the 
intensity of his concentration. At the beginning of October, 
having been a prisoner for more than a month, Colonel Armstrong 
wrote an urgent appeal to Sargent to come and see him. Sargent 
at last descended from his fastness; he interviewed the authorities 
in company with an Austrian acquaintance, Karl Maldona, and 
as a result procured the release of his brother artist. 

Now no one who knew Sargent would for a moment attribute 
his attitude to want of heart. All who knew him would agree 
that he responded on the instant to emergencies which he under- 
stood, and that his sympathies were particularly lively and 
generous the moment he realized that there was occasion for 
them. But the War was outside his ken, and so involved with 
consequences and questions of which he was entirely ignorant, 
that he seemed merely conscious of being rather isolated. It 
was as if his imagination had suffered a complete breakdown. 


No sooner had Colonel Armstrong been released than Sargent 
withdrew again to the mountains and resumed his painting, 
remaining in the Tyrol till November, when he returned to 
England. His reaction to the War was as yet nothing more 
definite than mild boredom. However that may be, it was a 
frame of mind of short duration. 

In 191 5 he exhibited at the Academy portraits of F. J. H. 
Jenkinson, University Librarian at Cambridge and Earl Curzon 
of Kedleston. The portrait of Jenkinson is one of his most easy 
and fluent achievements. In the Academy it formed a sharp 
contrast with the picture of Lord Curzon. It is a peculiarity 
of Sargent's art that some of his least distinguished portraits 
are those of the most distinguished men. This picture of Lord 
Curzon deals rather harshly with outside trappings and aspect. 
It tells little of the character, the intellectual force, the dis- 
tinguished career, and the powerful personality of the sitter. 
It has the relative inadequacy noticeable, in the portraits of 
Mr. Joseph Chamberlain and Lord Balfour, President Roose- 
velt and Lord Roberts. In each of these portraits it is as if the 
artist in his desire to be truthful had understated his case, and 
in his anxiety to exclude the element of prestige had missed 
some of the personality of his sitter. 

Early in 1916 Sargent again went to America. In the late 
summer he went on a sketching expedition to the Rocky 
Mountains and the west of America. He wrote to his friend 
and relative Mrs. Hale: 

Dear Cousin Mary, * 3 > 9 • 

At the risk of importuning you with this persistent letter 
writing, here I go again. As I told you in my first or my last it was 
raining and snowing, my tent flooded, mushrooms sprouting in my 
boots, porcupines taking shelter in my clothes, canned food always 
fried in a black frying pan getting on my nerves, and a fine waterfall 
which was the attraction to the place pounding and thundering all 
night. I stood it for three weeks and yesterday came away with a 
repulsive picture. Now the weather has changed for the better and 
I am off again to try the simple life (ach pfui) in tents at the top of 
another valley, this time with a gridiron instead of a frying pan and a 


perforated India rubber mat to stand on. It takes time to learn how 
to be really happy. 

Life was different in the Montana National Park, with the pleasant 
company of the Livermores. There we toured about over new trails 
every day. Mrs. Livermore is perfectly delightful and plays chess. 
Alas she went back east, and struck Chicago in the heat wave. The 
refrigerated dining room at the Blackstone Hotel saved her life, as it 
did all ours two weeks before. It is worth while flying there from 
any part of America during a heat wave. You sit in a perfect tempera- 
ture over an excellent dinner and watch the crowd dying like flies out- 
side of the window. Nero or Caligula could not have improved on it. 

Please take your courage in both hands and write me a line to this 

hotel. I will pounce upon it when I get back from my next plunge 

into canned food — thirty miles away. v 

J J Yours ever, 

John S. Sargent. 

In the autumn he returned to Boston and in November 
agreed with the Trustees of the Museum of Fine Arts to decorate 
the rotunda. The undertaking was completed by October, 
1921, when he at once entered into another contract to decorate 
the main stairway and library. This latter work, finished before 
he died, was unveiled on November 3, 1925. He was pleased 
with the reception given to his decoration in the rotunda and 
wrote in November, 1921, to Mrs. Hale: 

31, Tite Street, 

Nov. 2$th, 1 92 1. 
. . . Your good news about the Museum has been corroborated 
by various other letters and newspaper cuttings, and the fact that it 
is considered a success is proved by the Museum wanting more. They 
ask me to do the staircase . . . tra la la ... it shall be done, and I 
am pegging away at my generals, in a dense fog that has lasted two 
weeks, with that light before me. 

1916, the year in which he made the contract with the Trustees 
of the Museum, also saw the completion of his work at the Boston 
Library. Meanwhile the War had long begun, slowly but 
surely, to affect his imagination. In December, 1915, he had 
suffered a great loss in the death of Henry James, whom he had 
known for thirty years. Henry James had communicated to 
him, copiously enough, his sense of "living in a nightmare of the 


deepest dye," and of the War as "a huge horror of blackness." 
By degrees that came to be Sargent's own point of view. He 
gradually replaced the passive and balanced attitude of an 
ordinary American living in Europe, by an outlook warmly 
generous and deeply sympathetic. The most decisive and public 
symptom of this awakening was his resignation of the Prussian 
Ordre pour le Merite, tendered through diplomatic channels as 
early as 191 5. Letters from America show his personal anxiety. 
On June 8, 191 6, he wrote to me: 

My dear Evan, 

What a world you are living in — and what a succession of tre- 
mendous events have happened. That Irish affair — then that naval 
battle and now the loss of Kitchener, sledge hammer blows that shake 
us over here. 

Please write — I would like to know how you personally feel about 
it all — my sister mentioned in one of her letters that Lord Elcho, 
and, I am told, Cynthia's husband are prisoners in Egypt — Does this 
mean that they are prisoners of Turks or Arabs on the other side of 
the Red Sea ? where else could it be — I am very sorry to hear it, if it 
is true please let me know. 

I am terribly busy here with the carrying out of the plaster work 

of my ceiling — it is progressing well but it will be a long job, and I 

have to work like a nigger at modelling things that the workmen wait to 

carry off and cast. I doubt if all this is accomplished so that I can put 

up my paintings before the midsummer heat sets in — when that comes 

in July or August I shall be off to the Rockies for mountain air and 

sketching and return to this work in September. I wonder whether 

these great blows are affecting the moral. My sister's letters are 

intentionally cheerful but they date back many weeks. Please give 

me your own news and those of mutual friends — write as soon as you 

can. v 

Irs. ever, 

John S. Sargent. 

Later he wrote: 

• -- _ July 25, 1916. 

My dear Evan, j j o-> y 

Our letters must have crossed, and yours is the saddest of answers 
to my question about the prisoners — it moved me very much to learn 
this cruel blow to your family. There had indeed been a piling up 
of tragedies when you wrote and coming very close home. All the 


news that has reached us over hereof the great allies drive arc hearten- 
ing, and many people believe that the last act has begun. The " page 
of honour"* seems now to be "attending" the British, the French, 
and the Russians, God bless him. 

I left Boston a week ago, the work that I personally had to do with 
my own hands being accomplished — now the plasterers, painters and 
gilders will do the rest, which will take another month or more, and, 
in September I will return and put my paintings up. I tried one 
temporarily, the big Green Devil, and he looked well as far as one can 
judge, from the scaffolding which is on the level of the cornice. The 
whole architectural and ornamental scheme seems to work out on the 
large scale, and it has been a great satisfaction not to have to make any 
changes. Whether or not it is another of the palpable signs that I am 
getting old, I am rather revelling in the appearance this white elephant 
of mine is taking on of amounting to something, after all these years. 

After the heat of the last days in Boston and of the many days 

railway journey across the endless plains it is delicious to be here among 

crags and glaciers and pine woods. But I shall make my way further 

north to the Canadian Rockies, where the scenery is grander still. 

I have two pleasant companions and we take daily rides on Indian 

ponies. v 

r Irs. ever, 

John S. Sargent. 

My dear Evan, 

Yours was a frightfully interesting letter and gave me a better 
idea of what war looks like than anything I have read. If the accursed 
is still going on, which God forbid, when I get back in two or three 
months, I shall feel tempted to go out and have a look at it as you 
seem to think it would be permitted. But would I have the nerve to 
look, not to speak of painting ? I have never seen anything the least 
horrible — outside of my studio. 

I am back from the Rocky Mountains — I think I wrote you from 
there snowed up in a tent — that was the condition of things most of the 
time — now I am winding up my Library and the scaffolding will soon 
come down. I have taken a studio for a month or more to do various 
mugs in charcoal and one paughtrait and then I will be thinking of 
returning — If I could, I would do so now, for my sisters must be 

dreadfully anxious. ... , 7 

1 Irs. ever, 

John S. Sargent. 

* Allusion to a phrase in Defoe: "Victory attended him like a page of honour." 


The compass of this Memoir does not admit a detailed 
consideration of Sargent's decorative work. In any case it 
would require a treatise by an expert. A full description of it 
is to be found in the Guide to the Boston Library and the 
publications of the Museum of Fine Arts, to which is added 
a general description by Mr. Thomas A. Fox, the architect and 
friend of Sargent, who gave him loyal assistance in the structural 
part of the work. 


In the Rotunda alone, Sargent designed and carried out four compositions 
in pedimented frames, four reliefs above the pedimented frames, "Fame," "Satyr 
and Maenad," "Arion," and "Achilles and Chiron"; above these again, in circular 
frames, four paintings, "Ganymede," "Music," "Astronomy," "Prometheus"; 
and on the left and right, and at the two ends of the elliptical Rotunda, four large 
compositions, "Apollo and the Muses," figures representing the Arts, "Classic 
Romantic Art," "The Sphinx" and "The Chimaera," with four smaller reliefs 
surmounting the frames of the circular paintings. Mr. Fox states that "all the 
modelling, not only of the compositions themselves, but the details as well as all 
the painting of the canvases, was actually done by the artist himself, without the 
usual and supplementary aid of assistants." His decorations over the Main Stair- 
way and Library of the Museum of Fine Arts, including six reliefs, comprised eighteen 
separate works, two of them canvases of 25 by 10 feet. The whole scheme was 
begun in November, 1916, and completed before the artist's death in April, 1925. 
The subjects are classical and mythological. A golden ochre or biscuit colour 

predominates in the painting of the figures, against a back-ground of blue, both in 
the Rotunda and over the Main Stairway. A number of the paintings were done 
in Fulham Road. The most successful individual work is, perhaps, the half-circular 
lunette of the Danaides. The subject has been simply treated; on one side of the 
canvas the Danaides are seen ascending the steps with laden urns to pour water 
into the amphora placed in the centre of the picture, on the other side they descend, 
bearing their urns lightened of their load. The design has the repose looked for in 
mural decoration. The composition is superior to that of the less balanced and 
less harmonious canvases of "The Winds," "Orestes" and "Hercules and the 
Hydra." Tranquillity has been attained by the succession of vertical lines provided 
by the drapery of the slow-moving figures. Indeed, subject to such reservations that 
a generalization of the kind requires, it is true to say that from Madame Gautreau to 
the Danaides, Sargent becomes rhythmic and delicate in his lines in proportion as 
he approaches the vertical. In other words, his vertical have a quality less often 
found in his transverse and horizontal lines. The recumbent figures in "Atlas and 
the Hesperides" at once occur to the mind as an exception to the general statement, 
and there must of course be others in the vast range of his work; but the balance of 
examples will be found to favour the view here expressed. 

In both sets of decorations, Library and Museum, Sargent has worked out his 
scheme in his own way, free of definite influence. It is possible to suggest traces of 
Flaxman in "Apollo in His Chariot," of Baudry in "Phaethon and Chiron," 
Tiepolo in "The Winds," Michael Angelo in the figure of "Philosophy," and even 
Raphael in the "Unveiling of Truth"; but such ascription is at best fanciful. Sargent 
owed little to any recognizable influence, closely as he had studied the decorative 
work of the Masters named above. 


Of his two series of decorative schemes, that of the Boston Library is generally 
considered the finer. The working out of a single theme seems to have been respon- 
sible for a higher level of excellence. The interrelation of the paintings h.. 
to a more harmonious effect. In quality and treatment the panels are more akin. 
Here the realism of his art has seldom interfered with the abstract character of the 
scheme. Only in the frieze of the prophets is its pronounced. There it has deter- 
mined the spirit and disposition of the figures. On the other hand, the painting of 
Ancilla Domini, or Madonna and Child, has attained a degree of simplicity and 
spiritual charm that may be looked for in vain elsewhere in modern art. As he 
progressed, the inspiration of his subject seems to have acquired a stronger hold 
on his imagination. As he traced the ascent from the materialism and superstition 
of the beginnings of religious thought to a region of pure spirituality, he was able 
to express the full value of the contrast, with the poetry and distinction of a fine 
intellectual conception and the skill of his craftsmanship. 

One alone among his paintings in the Library gave rise to religious dissension. 
The Jews, conceiving that in his panel of the Synagogue he had reflected on the 
vitality of their faith by depicting the Synagogue as abased, in contrast to the Church 
triumphant in a neighbouring panel, endeavoured to obtain a decree ordering the 
removal of the painting. An Act was passed in the State Legislature in 1922 
authorizing by a manifest quibble the seizure of the picture "by right of eminent 
domain for educational purposes in teaching art or the history of art." The pretext 
was too flimsy, the purpose too transparent. The Attorney General advised 
that the Act was unconstitutional and in 1924 it was repealed.* In October, 1921, 
Sargent wrote to me as follows: 

"I enclose a snapshot of the President of Ireland in corroboration of 'Politics.'! 

"I am in hot water here with the Jews, who resent my 'Synagogue,' and want to 
have it removed — and to-morrow a prominent member of the Jewish colony is 
coming to bully me about it and ask me to explain myself — I can only refer him to 
Rheims, Notre Dame, Strasburg, and other Cathedrals, and dwell at length on the 
good old times. Fortunately the Library Trustees do not object, and propose to 
allow this painful work to stay." 

* For this, as for much other information from America, I am indebted to Mr. Richard 
Hale of Boston, 
f See next page. 

Chapter XXVI 

ON March 29, 1918, Sargent's niece Rose Marie, daughter 
of Mrs. Ormond and widow of Robert Andre Michel 
who had fallen while fighting on October 13, 19 14, was 
killed in Paris. She was attending the Good Friday service in 
the church of St. Gervais. The priest had just spoken the words 
"Mon Pere je remets mon esprit entre Vos mains," when a 
German shell struck the building, killing seventy people, among 
whom was Madame Michel. She was a person of singular 
loveliness and charm, and had figured in many of Sargent's works, 
notably in Cashmere, The Pink Dress and The Brook. He 
made many studies of her hands, which he thought the most 
beautiful he had ever seen, and gave two casts of them to the 
Slade. She had travelled with him on some of his sketching 
tours, and her youth and high spirits and the beauty of her 
character had won his devotion. Her death made a deep im- 
pression on him. 

Several attempts were made to induce Sargent to visit France 
and paint during the War. In June, 191 8, he consented, and 
towards the end of that month he and Professor Tonks left 
England. He regarded the question of his outfit very seriously, 
and 31, Tite Street soon became littered with boots, belts and 
khaki. There was a succession of tryings on, an endless pack- 
ing and unpacking; buckles suddenly came to play a part in 
the scheme of things, straps to act with "the silent inclemency 
of inanimate objects going their own way." At Charing Cross 
on the day of departure his personal equipment showed traces 
of difficulties partially overcome. Little as he looked like an 
artist, he looked even less like a military unit returning from 
leave. Bearded, and with a touch of the seafarer's complexion 
and with his burly figure, he appeared to a "Tommy" as "a 
sailor gone wrong." He was excited and interested. On arrival 



at Boulogne he went to G.H.Q. as the guest of Field-Marshal 
Haig; he was received with a welcome he never forgot, and found 
his friend Sir Philip Sassoon to initiate him into the mysteries 
of the military hierarchy. 

After a few days at G.H.Q. he motored to the headquarters 
of Major-General Sir Geoffrey Feilding, commanding the 
Guards Division, then at Bavincourt, twenty-five miles south 
of Arras. 

When the Division went into the line again on July 13 he 
followed General Feilding's headquarters, which were then about 
five miles from Berles au Bois. Sargent occupied one of the 
iron huts which had been built into a high bank to avoid observa- 
tion and bombs. On the 16th he was joined by Professor Tonks. 
General Feilding writes: "Sargent messed with us: we were a 
mess of about fourteen with him and Tonks. Breakfast and 
luncheon depended as to time on our various jobs, each of us 
coming in as he could get away. At dinner we were all together. 
He was a delightful companion, and we all loved him. He used 
to talk the whole time, and there was always some competition 
to sit next to him. He took an enormous interest in everything 
going on, he discussed music, painting and every imaginable 

Professor Tonks writes: 

Sargent entered completely into the spirit of his surroundings. 
I don't think he ever grasped much about the military campaign in 
actual being, which is curious as he had in his library and had read 
with deep interest many books on the Napoleon campaigns. I could 
never make him understand differences of rank, no not the most obvious, 
so I gave up trying. Things which seemed the commonplaces of 
war surprised him as when he said to General Feilding one Sunday 
when the Band was playing "I suppose there is no fighting on Sun- 
days/' Sometimes I used to wonder if he knew how dangerous a 
shell might be, as he never showed the least sign of fear, he was merely 
annoyed if they burst sufficiently near to shake him. Whenever he 
was at work a little crowd would collect and they easily found him 
as he invariably worked under a large white umbrella, which the 
British did not mind in the least but which the Americans (for he 
joined them later) with the thoroughness of the new broom made him 


camouflage. From Ballymont we went to Arras where Colonel 
Hastings the Town Commandant found us quarters in about the best 
uninjured house in the place. Here we had two or three weeks to- 
gether. He did a somewhat elaborate oil painting of the ruined 
Cathedral and a great many water colours of surprising skill. I never 
could persuade him to work in the evening when the ruined town 
looked so enchanting ; he worked systematically morning and afternoon. 
One day we heard that the Guards Division were advancing so we 
motored towards them to find material for our subjects. We knew 
that a number of gassed men were being taken to a dressing station 
on the Doullens Road, so we went there in the evening. He immedi- 
ately began making sketches and a little later asked me if I would mind 
his making this essentiallymedical subject his, and I told him I did not 
in the least mind. He worked hard and made a number of pencil 
and pen sketches which formed the basis of the oil painting known 
as Gassed now in the War Museum. It is a good representation 
of what we saw, as it gives a sense of the surrounding peace. I regret 
he did not put in something I noticed, a French boy and girl of about 
8 years, who watched the procession of men with a certain calm philos- 
ophy for an hour or more, it made a strange contrast. 

On July 24 Sargent wrote: 

C/o Major Lee, 


,, t, Thursday 24M. 

My dear Evan, j t 

I got a kind note from General Elles, thanks to you, giving me 

the freedom of the Tanks, but I am already here with the Guards 

Division and rather far away South Eastwards. I had had a lively 

day there before, in General Elles' absence, when Major Uzzielli took 

Philip Sassoon and me a joy ride in a Tank up and down slopes, and 

over trenches and looping the loop generally. There is a row of 

obsolete ones somewhere about Bermicourt that made me think of 

the ships before Troy. 

I am delightfully quartered here (in an iron tube) with General 

Feilding who is awfully kind and nice — and there is some good company 

in the Mess, and many pleasant fellows within reach — Lord Lascelles, 

Capt. Spencer Churchill whose occupation is crawling up to the Boche 

lines across No Mans Land. He carries in his pocket as a mascotte a 

little bronze greek head of 600 b.c. and General Haldane* who insisted 

on putting six volumes of Marion Crawford into my motor, with the 

* Lieut-General Sir Aylmer Haldane, commanding 6th Corps. 




order in which I must read them. He was scandalized at my never 
having read anything of that author excepting the line "and the silence 
clashed against the stillness," when certain lovers met by moonlight 
in the Pantheon. 

Whereas — I meant to be interesting — and ii y a de quoi. 

I will write again — God bless you. Y 

J. 1 o* CVC1 • 

John S. Sargent. 

The subject which Sargent had been specially invited to paint 
was a scene illustrating the co-operation of British and American 
troops. It will be remembered that American troops took 
their place for the first time in the main battle-line on May 28, 
1918, in the Mondidier section. On that day General Bullard's 
1st American Division, forming part of the French First Army, 
had captured the village of Cantigny and held it against three 
strong counter-attacks. By the middle of July 300,000 American 
troops were either in the line or in reserve. Sargent's visit 
coincided, therefore, with the principal American activities 
in the field. He was in France when Ludendorff made his final 
attack on July 15, and when on July 18 Foch began his counter- 
stroke. But the subject with which he was directly con- 
cerned, "British and American troops acting together," was not 
easy to capture. There was the difficulty, first, of finding the 
occasion, and then of its not being paintable when found. It 
was not until the end of September that he witnessed a scene 
which he thought suitable and of which he did a study, Arrival 
of American Troops at the Front \ France, 191 8.* 

On September 11 he wrote: 

C/o Major Lee, 


air t- Sept. n, 1918. 

My dear Evan, r ' y 

I wonder if you are coming out to the Tanks — If so I hope 

we can meet before I go back to London. The time is drawing nearer 

although there are two or three weeks yet as I needn't consider my 

privilege here at an end until the end of September. The weather 

* The property of Miss J. H. Heyneman. 


is breaking and rain and mud have set in for good I fear, and I hate 
to consider my campaign over before my harvest of sketches has grown 
to something more presentable in quality and quantity. The pro- 
gramme of "British and American troops working together," has sat 
heavily upon me for though historically and sentimentally the thing 
happens, the naked eye cannot catch it in the act, nor have I, so far, 
forged the Vulcan's net in which the act can be imprisoned and gaily 
looked upon. How can there be anything flagrant enough for a 
picture when Mars and Venus are miles apart whether in camps or 
front trenches. And the farther forward one goes the more scattered 
and meagre everything is. The nearer to danger the fewer and the 
more hidden the men — the more dramatic the situation the more it 
becomes an empty landscape. The Ministry of Information expects 
an epic — and how can one do an epic without masses of men ? Ex- 
cepting at night I have only seen three fine subjects with masses of 
men — one a harrowing sight, a field full of gassed and blindfolded 
men — another a train of trucks packed with "chair a cannon" — and 
another frequent sight a big road encumbered with troops and traffic, 
I daresay the latter, combining English and Americans, is the best 
thing to do, if it can be prevented from looking like going to the 

I left Tonks at Arras and came on to this neighbourhood of Ypres, 
to an American Division and am now with some R.G.A. but will 
probably go to Cassel where the hotel is still open. It is delightful 
not to have to dodge behind hedges when you are on Kemmel — not to 
speak of other sources of satisfaction, at the events of the last month ! 
What a pity winter is setting in when everything is going so well. 

I hardly deserve a letter, having written so rarely, but I want to 
know whether there is a chance of our meeting over here. Philip 
Sassoon has been awfully kind and useful. 

Yrs. ever, 

John S. Sargent. 

The scene which he witnessed with Professor Tonks, and 
chose as the subject for his war picture Gassed, followed 
the attack of the 4th and 6th Corps on August 21. The 6th 
Corps had attacked astride of Ayette with the 99th Brigade* of 
the 2nd Division on the right and the 2nd Guards Brigade on 
the left. The Germans put down a gas-shell barrage, which failed 
to stop the advance. Later in the day the heat of the sun set 

* Ninety-ninth Brigade was made up of 24rd Royal Fusiliers, a battalion of the 
Royal Berkshire and the 6oth Rifles. 






the gas in movement, and the 99th Brigade and the 8th Brigade 
of the 3rd Division, which passed through them to capture 
Courcelles, were caught in it. It is the men of these units that 
appear in the picture. When the picture was finished Sargent 
was in doubt what to call it. 

I don't (he wrote) quite agree with your objections to the title 
"gassed." The place is merely a clearing station that they were 
brought to — the date would lead people to speculate as to what 
regiments were reduced to that pitiable condition, and I think their 
identity had better not be indicated. The word "gassed" is ugly, 
which is my own objection, but I don't feel it to be melodramatic 
only very prosaic and matter of fact. 

I have just come from the Canadian Exhibition, where there is a 
hideous post-impressionist picture, of which mine cannot be accused 
of being a crib. Augustus John has a canvas forty feet long done in his 
free and script style, but without beauty of composition. I was afraid 
I should be depressed by seeing something in it that would make me 
feel that my picture is conventional, academic and boring — Whereas. 

Incidents of the War were not favourable for the production 
of works of art. The declared purpose with which pictures were 
painted implied that their first concern was documentary. 
Artists were sent to France to illustrate what took place, and 
provide on canvas a record for posterity of the scenes enacted. 
The incident which Sargent has chosen for his subject does, 
it is true, carry a great deal of sentimental significance. He 
has shown some of the horror of War, much of the moral quality 
of those taking part in it, and has interpreted the emotional 
intensity of a scene calculated to rouse compassion in the on- 
looker. The maimed and broken march of a file of men, blind- 
fold and striving in their stricken state to follow the directions 
of a guiding hand, has been treated with impressive simplicity. 
It is executed in low relief; with the severity of a processional 
frieze. There is no striving after the picturesque; dramatic 
account has been entirely dispensed with. It is stated in its 
starkest terms, it is more than merely descriptive. He has given 
a spiritual value to realism, and dignity and solemnity to the 
facts. The desultory rhythm of the figures silhouetted against the 


sky, the diffused light of evening, the harmony of colour with 
which the scene is invested, have entered into the inspiration. 

On September 24 he arrived at a camp in the neighbour- 
hood of Peronne. Near by was the Fourth Army Prisoners of War 
Transit Cage, under the command of Captain H. J. E. Anstruther, 
26th Royal Welsh Fusiliers, whose guest Sargent became. "I 
suggested to Sargent," writes Captain Anstruther, "that he 
might like to look round the prisoners of war cage and see the 
various types of prisoners taken on the previous day. The ground 
was ankle-deep in mud after heavy rain and the constant churn- 
ing up by prisoners marching in and out and up and down — 
some hundreds of prisoners were standing about. Sargent was 
deeply interested in the scene as he stood in the centre of the 
cage, the largest in the Army area (100 yards square), making 
notes and criticisms of the men and studying the various 
types." It is easy to imagine Sargent feeling at first embarrassed 
— was it quite fair ? Was it not taking advantage of fellow-men 
in adversity studying them in a pen and sizing them up like 
cattle? — then the "queerness" of it getting the better of 
his hesitations and stimulating his vision, and finally his being 
caught up by the absorbing interest of the scene. After all, the 
prisoners themselves were indifferent to inspection: positively 
one can imagine him arguing to himself there wasn't any reason 
not to stare and take notes. A day or two later he was struck 
down by influenza and taken to the 41st Casualty Clearing 
Station near Roisel, where he was placed under the care of 
Doctor Stobie of Oxford. He was a week in bed, "in a 
hospital tent," as he wrote to Mrs. Gardner, "with the accom- 
paniment of groans of wounded, and the chokings and coughing 
of gassed men, which was a nightmare — it always seemed strange 
on opening one's eyes to see the level cots and the dimly-lit long 
tent looking so calm, when one was dozing in pandemonium." 
He was placed in the officers' ward, warmed by an oil stove, the 
tent very wet and muddy, the conditions uncomfortable, men 
dying round him, and the aftermath of the battlefield constantly 
passing before him. He read a lot of the hospital books and 
made a sketch of one of the flaps of the tent. He was quite 


uninterested in military matters, but when well enough to join 
the doctors' mess he proved a great asset, and made an admi- 
rable social element — everybody liked him. It was his habit 
to regard the hazards of mortality with outward calm; his 
compassion, though deep, was concealed by shyness; his eye 
might kindle with sympathy, his voice change when confronted 
with suffering, but he shunned expression of deep feeling. And 
so, too, in France, faced with sights to which he was acutely 
sensitive, and suffering in its most poignant form, he continued 
to maintain his habitual reserve. By sheer necessity it was the 
attitude of those most concerned; it was doubly incumbent on 
those taking no active part, but thrust into this tortured world, 
to maintain the same reticence and acceptance. 

By the end of October he was back in England. Soon after 
the Armistice Sir Abe Bailey, with fine generosity, offered to 
pay for three pictures for the National Portrait Gallery, which 
should include the foremost figures, political, naval and military, 
of the War. Naturally Sargent was approached as to his willing- 
ness to undertake one of the three. At first he declined. Great 
pressure was put upon him, and in January, 19 19, he wrote: 
" Yes, I have written to Lord Dillon* and said that if the Trustees 
should ask me again, leaving me liberty of time, I would gladly 
do the Army group — gladly is polite.'* When consulted, he 
recommended that Sir James Guthrie and Sir Arthur Cope, R.A., 
should be asked to execute the other two groups. Each painter 
was to receive £5,000. Nothing but a sense of obligation 
induced Sargent to embark on this undertaking. It never 
appealed to him; it had to be fitted in with his work at Boston; 
from the first he presaged a failure. 

In May he wrote from America: 

iv/r t? May 12, 1920. 

My dear Evan, j 

I am beginning to see my way clear to getting back to England 
in fact I am in hopes of getting a cabin on the 3rd July. . . . The 
Generals loom before me like a nightmare. I curse God and man for 
having weakly said I would do them, for I have no ideas about it and 
I foresee a horrible failure. My new England conscience alone forbids 

* Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Portrait Gallery. 


my {illegible) the very real possibility of my not being able to get a 
ship or striking a floating mine if I do. However it will certainly 
be a pleasure to be in London again and to see the half a dozen people 
whom I have missed during this year's absence. 

.... Haven't you been delighted with Henry James' letters ? 
such virtuosity, such beautiful flutters — it is like watching the evolu- 
tions of a bird of paradise in a tropical jungle. There is a letter about 
Roosevelt in the second volume and one to Walter Berry which are 

miraculous fireworks. ^ 

ir. ever, 

John S. Sargent. 

P.S. — I wonder if Guthrie and Cope are getting a tremendous 

start of me on the accursed. 

In July he was once more in Tite Street. In September he 
wrote, again in reference to his picture of the Generals, to Sir 
James Guthrie: 

I have been back a couple of months and thanks to Mr. Milner* 
have put salt on the tails of a certain number of generals and I find 
each of them individually very interesting to do and the tremendous 
variety of types seems to give a promise of some sort of interest. But 
I am still merely collecting material and have not yet evolved any 
scheme of the picture as a whole. I am handicapped by the idea that 
they never could have been altogether in any particular place — so I 
feel debarred from any sort of interesting background and reduced 
to painting them all standing ud in a vacuum. 

High hopes were entertained of what Sargent would produce. 
Unfortunately he refused to allow himself any poetic licence. 
These soldiers never had been in one room together during the 
War, therefore it would be a falsification to group them as 
though they had. His adherence to fact stood between him 
and a work of art. The background, in his view, had to be 
neutral, carrying no import of time or place. The Generals 
had, as he said, to be painted in a vacuum. The result is a 
group devoid of artistic interest. The Generals appear to be 
collected on a stage from which the curtain has just risen, and 
about to advance as a chorus to the footlights, a view borne out 
by the playhouse architecture of the background. Individual 

* Director of the National Portrait Gallery. 


heads are finely painted; but as a composition it has failed. The 
arrangement is forced and rigid and wanting in poise. It was 
probably beyond the skill of man to avoid a tendency to monotony 
in representing a sequence of brown boots and spurs; some artifice, 
at least, of lighting was required, but this has not been given. 
The spectator is confronted with seventeen gentlemen in khaki 
looking out of the picture, and gathered together for no con- 
ceivable purpose other than to stand for their portraits. On the 
other hand, as a series of literal resemblances of those who led 
British armies to victory it provides a veracious record, and this, 
when all is said and done, was the object when the commission 
was given. 

With the exception of his picture Gassed, the war as such 
cannot be said to have influenced favourably Sargent's art. It 
is true that he painted some fine water-colours in France, but in 
these the war plays a small part; they are just scenes he might 
have chosen on any one of his sketching holidays, with here 
and there indications of military occurrences incidental to the 
setting. In the same way his commemorative panels painted for 
Harvard University are lacking in any quality of inspiration. 

Chapter XXVII 

IN the course of his career Sargent received decorations and 
diplomas from many countries; America, France, Italy, 
Germany and Belgium, each in turn paid him honour. In 
England in 1904 he received a D.C.L. from the University of 
Oxford. In 1907 he was offered a knighthood by the Prime 
Minister. Pleading his American citizenship, he replied as 

The Rt. Honble. 

Sir Henry Campbell Bannerman. ~ 

31, Tite Street, 

t^ o tt Chelsea. 

Dear Sir Henry, 

I deeply appreciate your willingness to propose my name for 

the high honour to which you refer, but I hold it as one to which I 

have no right to aspire as I am not one of His Majesty's Subjects but 

an American Citizen. „ ,. 

Believe me, 

With very great respect, 

John S. Sargent. 

In 1913 he was given the degree of LL.D. by the University 
of Cambridge. 

Gratifying as these titles of fame may have been, they were 
a source of great perturbation to Sargent in so far as they necessi- 
tated a public appearance. It was no light thing for him to step 
from the shelter of Tite Street into the applause of the Sheldonian 
Theatre. Even when assured that no speech would be expected 
he seemed afraid lest some unforeseen contingency should bring 
upon him the hated ordeal. And then what would be his 
position? He shuddered at the thought. In reply to a letter 
asking him to address a philosophical society of Harvard Univer- 
sity on Art he drafted a reply which gives an idea of his invincible 
repugnance to speaking in public: 




Dear Sir, 

. . . It is an honour that I fully appreciate and am deeply 
grateful for having been thought entitled to. I should be pleased 
to accept if I had the least right to hope that a miracle would happen 
in my favour. The miracle of overcoming something like panic when 
asked to speak has never happened to me yet, and the spectacle of 
panic instead of a speech is the entertainment I have afforded and long 
since resolved not to afford again. The annals of the society would 
have a disaster to chronicle that I feel bound to spare them by declin- 
ing an honour that would entail the saddest consequences. . . . 

This nervousness in public did not hinder him from doing 
public work; it did, however, prevent him, on the resignation of 
Sir Edward Poynter in December, 191 8, from accepting the 
Presidency of the Royal Academy. When pressed very hard he 
said to his friend Sir Arthur Cope: "I would do anything for the 
Royal /Academy but that, and if you press me any more, I shall 
flee the country." Sir Arthur adds: "There is no doubt that if 
he had allowed his name to stand he would have been elected, 
not only without dissent, but with acclamation. " In the conduct 
of the Academy's affairs Sargent was loyal and active. Things 
had changed since he had paid his ceremonial calls as an A.R.A. on 
"the old fogeys"* of 1894. The Academy was still the Academy, 
but it had greater width of view; it was more alive to movements 
of art going on outside Burlington House. 

In 1 91 7 he resigned the Trusteeship of the Tate Gallery and 
in a letter to Mr. D. S. MacColl gave his reasons: 

I am sorry (he wrote) you think I am leaving you in the lurch in 
the matter of the Trusteeship. I was not in it long enough for it to 
amount to that. In fact I resigned as soon as I realized that I was 
the only painter. To elect one painter on a board of that sort looks 
to me like throwing a possible sop to the body of artists, and his position 
would be that of the small appendix or some other survival in an 
organism. The fact of my being an Academician also complicates 
matters more than I can foresee or measure. You and others on the 
Board undoubtedly represent a systematic opposition to the Academy, 
with influential backing and I don't know what fell purposes with 
which a member of the Academy cannot sympathize — or be associated 
— Inside that body I am looked upon as a frequent and ineffectual 

* See ante. 


advocate for changes and a nonconformist to that kind of loyalty that 
consists in maintaining that everything is perfect. But that is a very 
different thing from joining those who oppose it as an institution and 
very likely disapprove of its system. 

He was a conscientious teacher in the Academy Schools, 
regarded, as we have seen, by some as a "wonder'' and by others 
as difficult to follow. He used to say of himself that he had no 
gift for teaching. "When I first met Brough," he told Miss 
Heyneman, "I often criticized his work, but though Brough 
always agreed and seemed struck by a suggestion he never once 
changed a detail in response to advice. . . ." In the same way: 
"When I first took up teaching work at the R.A., I painted for 
the students from a model during a whole day, carrying on the 
canvas from stage to stage, explaining as I went. They thanked 
me profusely, but when I arrived for my next criticism I found 
that not one of the class of about forty had made the smallest 
attempt to follow what I had shown them." 

Another of the public duties Sargent undertook was in 
connection with the Chairmanship of the British School at 
Rome. On the death of Edwin x\bbey he became the principal 
adviser of the Board of Management on matters connected with 
painting. In 191 2, when the School was incorporated by Royal 
Charter, he became an original member of the Council. He 
twice refused the Chairmanship of the Faculty of Painting: first, 
on its formation, in favour of Sir Edward Poynter, and again 
when Sir Edward died, in favour of Mr. George Clausen. In 
1 92 1 he was persuaded to take the position when Mr. Clausen 
resigned. It meant going perilously close to publicity; he 
accepted with reluctance. A board room, and above all a chair- 
manship, might involve a speech — still there were calls which no 
one who paid regard to duty could refuse. When once he was 
there, his judgment and authority were of the highest value; his 
personality exactly the one needed. With his broad-mindedness 
and hostility to what was stereotyped and conventional he acted as 
a bulwark agains sectarian tendencies. Before this he had secured 
the appointment as original members of the Faculty of Painting 
of Wilson Steer and Henry Tonks, two artists for whose work 


he had a deep admiration. When Sir Edward Poynter at the 
time of the appointment asked who Professor Tonks was, Sargent 
had difficulty in controlling his indignation and jerked out 
vehemently, "A great teacher," with a menacing emphasis 
on the "great/' 

Few artists have been more consistently applauded in their 
lifetime than Sargent, few have seen their work maintain through 
many years greater popularity with the public. There had 
never been a moment since 1875 when his pictures had not 
found a ready market, there had never been a year when he had 
not more commissions than he could execute. Critics, after 
the first hesitations, had, with few exceptions, consistently 
eulogized his paintings; dealers had been resolute in their ac- 
quisition; fellow-artists had acclaimed him; and the public, the 
fourth estate in the formation of a painter's reputation, had made 
him their favourite. The prices realized by his pictures at 
auction rose steadily. His first picture to be sold at Christie's 
was Autumn on the River ; 30 by 19 inches, which brought 
£52 10s. for the South African War Fund in 1900. In 1906 
Miss Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth, owned by Sir Henry 
Irving, brought £1,260. In 1910 Expectancy: A Young Girl 
29/4 by 23% inches, was sold for £504. In 191 6 Rehearsal of 
the Bas de Loup Orchestra fetched £231. In 1924 The 
Hospital at Granada, 20 by 27^ inches, was bought on behalf 
of the Felton Bequest, Melbourne, for £2,205. The highest 
price paid for a water-colour before his death was in 1920, when 
£750 was paid for the Church of the Gesuati on the Zattere, 
Venice* Appreciation of his water-colours has since then 
rapidly increased. The view is even entertained that they will 
do more than his oil paintings to maintain the level of his fame. 
To some, such a view will be on a par with Matthew Arnold's 
whimsical declaration that Shelley's prose will outlive his verse. 
But, however that may be, the skill and vitality with which 

* At the sale at Christie's, July 24, 1925, Sargent's 237 oil paintings and 
drawings fetched £170,000. There is no parallel for such a sale. The purchasers 
were, I believe, without exception, either American or English. The works of 
Sargent are as highly prized in 1927, and in the esteem of the public have survived 
one of the most likely periods for reaction. 


Sargent's water-colours state the realities that delight the eye, 
and now and then cast over those realities a vesture of imagination, 
suggest that it is something deeper than fashion which has given 
them their present renown. They have a happy air of impromptu, 
of the artist having come upon a scene at a particular moment 
and there and then translated it into paint. He set his face 
against anything like "picture making"; his water-colours are 
fragmentary — pieces of the visible world broken off because they 
appealed to his eye, not because they made a specially paintable 
subject or evoked a mood. Nearly all of them are done under 
Southern skies or in mountainous country. He had a preference 
for scenes in which the hand of man had taken a part; if he 
turned to natural scenery, he chose wildness rather than beauty, 
strange effects in mountain formation, gorges, tumbling glaciers, 
or rocks strewn as though they were the missiles on a Titans' 
battlefield. But, whatever he painted, water-colour in his hands 
seemed to lose something of its limitation and become a more 
powerful medium, giving the substances represented a solidity 
and volume more associated with oil-colour. His general habit 
was to make the lightest indications in pencil to fix the relative 
position of objects, and then, after wetting the paper, to paint 
with great rapidity. It was not his habit to use the opaque 
method; he trusted for his high lights to the white of the paper. 
From the white of the paper he would with equal facility conjure 
the satin of a dress, the texture of a marble, or the silky flanks of 
an ox. He paints as a man of muscle rather than mood. He 
does not, like Brabazon, transmute his scenes into melody. His 
power is displayed in the supremacy of his drawing, the opulence 
of his colour, the skill of his statement, finite as it often is, and 
the glowing warmth of his sunlit scenes. And in these he excels, 
not so much by the subtlety of his omissions as by the harmony 
of his assertions and his exuberant objectivity. 

It was only after Sargent met Brabazon in 1886 or 1887 that 
he took to water-colours on a scale at all comparable to his work 
in oils. From then onwards, whenever other calls on his time 
allowed, he devoted a portion of the year to working in this 
medium. Here and there in his work we may fancy that the 


influence of Brabazon is present, especially in some of the more 
subdued renderings which he has given of the side canals in 
Venice; but these are rare. For the most part he is entirely 
himself, deriving from no one. He followed his own pleasure; 
every picture is the offspring of exultation in his facility; their 
spontaneity is pronounced, they flow from his hand with the 
turbulence of water from a mill race. If little is added to what 
he represents, nothing is taken away. If the scenes he paints 
delight us, the same delight will be found in his renderings of 
them. To live with Sargent's water-colours is to live with 
sunshine captured and held, with the lustre of a bright and legible 
world, "the refluent shade" and "the ambient ardours of the 
noon." If the modern painter of water-colours aims at slightness, 
and to-day shorthand is preferred to definition, that was not the 
aim of Sargent. He never ran the risk of emptiness. He cultivated 
in his compositions full measure, pressed down and running 
over. When Mr. James showed him a water-colour he had done 
Sargent said: "Very nice, but terrifically slight; I'd like to see 
you make one without any sky or water. Work out these forms" 
(pointing to a tangle of bushes in the foreground). Mr. James 
answered that he had made such attempts but always lost, in 
so doing, the effect of the whole. He said: "But I don't 
see how you can . . . see . . . the whole until you have made 
some of the parts." 

Of his own water-colours he was a severe critic; rarely 
satisfied, deprecating praise, and always ready to point out what 
he regarded inadequate or mistaken. When he brought home 
one of his well-known sketches, Quarry at Chocorua, Mrs. 
James said to him: "How delightful it must be to know that every 
time you work you will bring back something fine." Sargent 
replied: "But I hardly ever do! Once in a great, great 

Neither in his water-colours nor his oil painting did he turn 
for subjects to the humbler walks of life. Destiny prescribed 
for him the role of a portrait painter of the social world. He 
had brought the tradition with him from Paris; he had grown up 
in the age of Duran, Bonnat, Dagnan Bouveret, and Boldini, when 


to have your portrait painted was a normal incident of fashion- 
able life. In London he carried on the tradition. He was 
unaffected by the change taking place in Paris in the character 
of subjects which the rising artists were painting. Posterity 
will learn about the epoch of Sargent only what is to be gathered 
from a study of the eminent, the rich and the successful. He 
painted, in fact, the world of which Henry James wrote. His 
migration to England put an end to his interested outlook on 
peasant life and folk subjects, fisherwomen by the sea, dancers in 
Spanish cabarets, Parisian flaneurs in the Luxembourg Gardens, 
Venetian water-carriers and beggar girls. The future student 
of the social life of the last fifty years in France will be able to 
reconstruct much of it from the work of French painters. In 
England there has been nothing which corresponds to this dedica- 
tion of the highest talent to making works of art from the life 
of the people, from a butcher's wife in her bath to an advocate 
pleading in the law courts. Conditions in England decided the 
direction of Sargent's genius. He was turned from his experi- 
ments in Impressionism, and his leanings towards subjects like 
the Spanish dancers; civilization for him became "the litter 
in which we forget the bearers." And as the chronicler of the 
beau monde like Van Dyck in his day, and like Reynolds, Romney, 
Lawrence and Gainsborough in theirs, he established within a 
few years a supremacy hardly disputed. 

Through the munificence of Sir Joseph Duveen, those who 
visit the Tate Gallery now see side by side the work of Sargent 
and that of the French Impressionists. To pass from the French 
school to Sargent is to make an abrupt transition. A new idiom 
is exchanged for one that modern criticism would have us believe, 
has said its last word. But in taking stock of the situation we 
must recognize that Sargent's work should be compared not with 
the French school of to-day, but with the portrait painters of the 
past. And the moment we do this, strong though the influence 
of fashion inevitably is upon our aesthetic appreciations, we can- 
not doubt that he will maintain a distinguished place in the com- 
pany of eminent painters. 

Degas said at the graveside of Corot: "The artist will be 


replaced with difficulty, the man never." That must correspond 
with what is felt by many who knew Sargent. 

In personal appearance he was a striking figure. Standing 
over six feet in height, he maintained a remarkable uprightness 
of carriage, and, though in later years decidedly a heavy man, 
he was to the end of his life quick and emphatic in his move- 
ments. Advancing years had made his prominent grey-blue 
eyes more noticeable, but had done nothing to lessen the keen- 
ness with which they seemed to rake the field of vision. Great 
painters have usually been men of strong physique. Sargent 
appeared to escape the fatigues of more normal humanity; at the 
end of a long day's work his mind would be serene and cool, his 
temperament buoyant; he would show no sign of fag either in 
brain or limb. 

His health was remarkable. Occasional attacks of influenza 
and a certain liability to sore throat alone disputed his seeming 
invulnerability. And as to his sore throats, he declared these 
were induced by his duties on the hanging Committee of the 
Royal Academy, which necessitated sitting many hours in a room 
while pictures were dragged across the floor, filling the air 
with particles of carpet. When asked to dinner by Sir George 
Henschel after one of these attacks, he wrote from Scheveningen: 

I left London last Thursday and came to Holland because I cannot 
talk Dutch and so would hold my tongue and give my throat a chance. 
Here there is enough sea air to make it necessary to hold on to railings 
and lamp-posts, and I am regaining my voice slowly, but I know that 
if I talked for half an hour I should be dumb again for a week. If I 
came to your dinner my voice would be taken away with the fish. 

His burly full-blooded aspect was deceptive: it gave no 
warrant of the diffidence and gentleness that lay beneath. A 
stranger would never have suspected that behind such alacrity 
and power was an almost morbid shrinking from notoriety and 
an invincible repulsion from public appearances. In this he 
presented a continual paradox. It was an engaging trait, and 
perhaps helped to preserve the freshness and delicacy of his 
perception, enabling him the better to estimate the sensibilities 


of others. During the War a famous musician in Paris was in 
straitened circumstances; Sargent, anxious to help, wrote as 
follows, enclosing a substantial sum: 


tv, r- ' Etats-Unis. 


II y a si longtemps que nous ne nous sommes vus que je me 
persuaderais facilement que c'est dans quelque vie anterieure que mes 
a tomes out fait la connaissance des votres et s'y sont fatalement ac- 
croches. Sans vous en douter vous promenez avec vous un jumeau 
sentimental invetere et inoperable. Votre souvenir et vos oeuvres 
me hantent et c'est peut-etre vous que je salue d'un coup de chapeau 
quand chaque hiver je vois Sirius, et chaque printemps le premier 
amandier en fleur. Mais, comme a un negre, il me faut un fetiche, 
un objet materiel devant lequel faire mes prosternations, et je viens 
vous implorer a quatre pattes cette faveur, avez-vous le manuscript 
d'une de vos romances que vous voudriez bien m'envoyer a Padresse 
ci dessus ? Ce serait pour moi un tresor inestimable — faites moi ce 

C'est un des attraits de Boston qu'on y entend souvent de vos 
oeuvres. Vous avez en Loeffler un interprets hors ligne et un ad- 
mirateur passionne. 

Passionne aussi votre admirateur et vieux ami. 

John S. Sargent. 

Time or distance made no difference to the warmth of his 
friendships; he never suffered their temperature to fall. 

Charles Furse, doing decorations in a distant town in England, 
found himself in a difficulty; he wrote to Sargent explaining he 
was stuck and enclosing a diagram drawing to illustrate his 
dilemma. The next day, working on a high scaffolding, he was 
astonished to see Sargent's head appear at the top of the ladder: 
Sargent had broken every engagement to come to the assistance 
of his friend. 

He was generous to a fault in deed and judgment. His 
kindness of heart was exceptional. The wife of an American 
painter fell ill; she was without anyone to look after her save her 
husband, who made a livelihood by teaching a class. Sargent 
came to the rescue, and during the wife's illness and after her 


death took the class, taught, and kept the pupils together till 
such time as the painter was able again to take them over. 

He was always ready with personal service if that could be 
more effective than finance. 

A few years ago he heard of a young French painter, who, 
as the result of an accident, was taken to a hospital with his sight 
seriously injured. Sargent, though he knew nothing of him, 
called at the hospital, and when told it was not a visiting day 
forced his way in, saying, "Nonsense." Next day he returned 
with an eminent oculist, and he continued his kindness in various 
ways till the youth was cured. Such illustrations could easily 
be multiplied. 

There was a certain splendour about his personality, his 
dynamic energy, his largeness of outlook, his complete immunity 
from what was small or unworthy, as well as in the high 
simplicity and honour of his life. He hated pretensions and 
affectation, "that seal of mediocrity," whether in art or indi- 
viduals. His opinions carried a weight which was derived from 
his sincerity and experience — a statement which he would cer- 
tainly have met with "Tush, tush I" or some stronger deprecation. 
His taste was startling at times, but, supported as it always was 
by good reason, it was upsetting and often shook the most con- 
vinced. He was shy of emotion, inclined to shirk it when it 
came his way; this made him difficult to know: he seemed to 
protect himself in a network of repressions. This was noticeable 
in the War. 

His response to some of the agitations common to mortality 
was never assertive or pronounced: it was, perhaps, too much 
involved with his artistic appreciations to be disengaged as a 
distinctive force. "L'art de peindre," wrote Fromentin, "est 
peur-etre plus indiscret qu'aucun autre. C'est le temoignage 
indubitable de l'etat moral du peintre ou il tenait la brosse." 
Sargent would not have subscribed to such a doctrine: yet his 
painting suggests that it contains a truth. While his absorption 
in art was a passion, none the less he approached each problem 
with detachment, viewing its solution unemotionally and regard- 
ing his sitters with the level judgment of a man of science. 


Positive truth, selected and arranged to convey the essential, 
was his aim; if that was attained other things would follow. He 
held that if mystery, charm and poetry were treated as an end 
in themselves, they were sure to lead to mannerism and disaster. 
In conversation he allowed himself plenty of latitude; he could 
caricature and embroider amusingly; he was a good hand at 
"picking mirth from off rotten walls," and was all for a leaven 
of nonsense. His work (and he thought nothing of seven hard 
days in the week) never unfitted him for enjoyment. He would 
arrive to the minute where he was due to dine, and no company 
but seemed richer for his presence; he was easy and mellow, and 
no one had fewer moods to air or antipathies to control. At 
all times he was natural, courteous and interested, droll with 
an edge, and ready to pursue whatever game was afoot, and keenly 
alive to everything that concerned his friends. The following 
letter to de Glehn, on his marriage, is characteristic. 


,, „ Sept. 20th. 

My dear Premp, r 

I have just opened a packet of letters and find your, let us say, 


My God ! what a trick to play to your sincere well wisher. I will 
up and marry in the attempt to be quits. 

Well, troglodyte of the Cordilleras. I foresee that the time will 
come when, this first shock being over, I will spontaneously and sincerely 
congratulate you — especially when I see and like the lady which I feel 
I am sure to do — and the sooner the better — at this moment the cold 
sweat is on my brow. I feel as if a very boon companion had been 
carried off, probably for his good, but also probably to live in America 
which means to me personally a great loss. However and whereas and 

These small and discreditable and ill-mannered whimperings must 
be stifled, and I will train for better sentiments by reading your letter 
which is very convincing that you are happy and likely to be per- 
manently so. 

All that your fussy and egotistical old friends will want to hang on 
to, is the chance or the power of contributing a little to your happiness. 

Be as happy as you like Dear Sir, on those conditions. 

Don't be a troglodyte and show this to her and spoil my chance of 


becoming her friend as well as yours. You may tell her that that 

is my hope and ambition and that I shall be extremely annoyed if she 

doesn't like me. v 

Yours ever, , 

Sargent read widely. In English prose, which he knew less 
well than French, he admired particularly Sir Thomas Browne, 
Smollet, Sterne, Swift, Defoe, Gibbon, Pater Doughty's 
"Arabia Deserta," Samuel Butler. He seldom read English 
novels, and he could never appreciate Dickens. He preferred 
French poetry to English. He had read and remembered a great 
deal of Shakespeare and Shelley, but he cared little for Keats, 
still less for Pope: on the latter point he was very positive. I 
never heard of his reading modern English verse, with the 
exception of Flecker, whose "Hassan" certainly gave him 

War poetry he refused to read, with the exception of Julian 
Grenfell's "Into Battle," of which he wrote: "The verses are 
very fine and moving — there is something unusual in the sensa- 
tion conveyed of all his perceptions and all his sympathies being 
keyed up to a high pitch by something enormous that is behind 
the scenes." As a rule, what he liked in books was travel, ad- 
venture and strange personal experience. 

He loved writing that put before him definite images and 
portraits, such as Beckford's, Gobineau's and St. Simon's, and 
the wit and finish of Max Beerbohm's essays delighted him. 

In April, 1925, he was once more due to start for 
America. He had shown no outward sign of ill-health. His 
friends had thought him tired, but he had been pursuing his 
ordinary life of unrestricted activity. For several days he had 
been engaged in his preparations, packing, lifting cases, and, in 
disregard of the protests of his friends, putting on himself a 
physical strain of much severity. On the evening of the 14th 
a few of his friends met at 10, Carlyle Mansions for a farewell 
dinner given by Miss Sargent: Mrs. Ormond, Lady Prothero, the 
two Misses Barnard, L. A. Harrison, Wilson Steer, Henry Tonks 
and Nelson Ward. 


Sargent was in high spirits, he had dispatched to America 
the final instalment of his decorations for the Museum of Fine 
Arts and he was spending his last evening with his friends. He 
acted, as he always did at his sister's parties, as host. The party, 
as was the custom, broke up at 10.30. The guests said good- 
bye, with wishes for Sargent's speedy return; and then, after 
lingering a little with his sister, he drove away. It was his habit 
to read before going to sleep. When the maid knocked at his 
door on the morning of April 15, there was no answer: John Sar- 
gent was dead. Beside him lay an open volume of the "Diction- 
naire Philosophique ,, of Voltaire. His glasses had been pushed up 
over his brow; he had the aspect of one quietly sleeping. Death 
had come with soundless tread, "unexpected and unrecognized," 
as in January, 1905, he had written of his mother. 

J, s. s. 



(Copyright and all other rights given to Miss Sargent) 

J. S. S.: In Memoriam 

TALKING about John Sargent recently with his sisters, 
and hearing the letters he wrote as a small boy to Ben 
del Castillo, I recognize that, even more than in cases of 
other friends, the John Sargent I can write about is merely the 
one who has long existed in my mind, and, perchance, scarcely 
anywhere else. Also, that what I can write about him, when 
indeed it won't be writing about my own past self, must be 
taken as akin to a legend: a few genuine facts, but intermeshed 
with a good deal more which, as with other legends, is surmise, 
misinterpretation, confusion of times and places and persons — 
in short, incorrect and easily corrected by others. But not by 
me! Because John Sargent exists in my mind just like that; 
and that is the only John Sargent I know, and wish to write 
about. So that whatever rectifications may be made, I shall 
answer: "No doubt," or "Yes, of course," and return to my own 

Take, for instance, the matter of John Sargent's heredity, 
and the respective parts played by his parents. Already his 
sisters have demurred to my view, and tell me that his special 
gifts must have come from his father's side, since among his 
paternal ancestors there was, at least, one painter of Colonial 
times. But to me, who see in recollection Mrs. Sargent paint- 
ing, painting, painting away, always an open paint-box in front of 
her, through all the forty years I knew her, her whole jocund 
personality splashed, as it were, with the indigo of seas and the 
carmine of sunsets, to me the painting gift of John Sargent is all 
from his mother; while what he had from his father was the 
deep-seated character, the austere, self-denying strength which 
smelted and tempered that talent into genius. Since John 
Sargent, as I see him, is at bottom a puritan, for ever question- 


ing and curbing the divine facility of his gifts, setting them new 
tasks from a puritan's hatred of yielding to his own preferences, 
a puritan's assertion of liberty against the wiles of enslaving 
mannerism, that Delilah. By this I account for his having 
turned, with all his energy and infinite application, to tasks less 
suited to his gifts than those which lay ready to his hand. More- 
over, persuaded as I am that the individual temperament of 
every artist expresses itself with unconscious imperative far 
more in how he paints than in what he chooses to be painting, I 
account by this for the way he laid down his perfectly pure and 
sharply contrasted colours; above all, for the rushing lines and 
wilful but broadly generous angles, out of which the unerring 
speed of his hand and his eye built up the likeness of men and 
things. Neither is this all: it was the puritan in John Sargent 
who was perpetually dissatisfied with that spontaneous imaginative 
vision of his, inclining him to the recondite and far-fetched, and 
compelling him to an arduous search after the unsuspected aspects 
and innermost qualities of whatever he painted. If, as I imagine, 
there is a portrait of John Sargent as a very young man among 
the geologists on the glacier in Besnard's "£cole de Pharmacie," 
then the rapid, passionate concentration of the stroke of his 
hammer on the moraine-stone may well be symbolical of the 
deliberate and loving, but sometimes ruthless, laying bare of the 
unsuspected structure of material things, and, however uncon- 
scious he remained of such psychological revelations, no less of 
the soul of his sitters. All this has been occasionally attributed 
to the modern artist's craving to faire nouveau. Whereas, if 
ever there has been a great man (and I suspect all great men are 
more or less alike in this matter) who disdained, or rather ignored, 
the desire to pit his work against something done by others, it 
was John Sargent. But he was pursued by the fear of sliding 
into what he himself had already done, of yielding and losing 
himself in the deliciousness of his marvellous facility. And that, 
that something of Beethoven, in a man of Mozartian spontaneity 
and variety, abundance and swiftness, was, I shall always 
believe, the puritan heredity of John Sargent's New England 




When I was a child, and John and Emily and I (eighteen 
months separating the youngest of us from the eldest) were 
children together, for two winters at Nice and one (so memorable) 
in Rome, I adored Mrs. Sargent and was rather afraid of Dr. 
Sargent. Not that he ever scolded me, or his own children in my 
presence. With perfect courtesy he passed over my vain little 
person, whereas Mrs. Sargent, bubbling with sympathies and 
the need for sympathy, treated everyone as an equal in the ex- 
pansiveness of her unquenchable youthfulness and joie de vivre. 
When I come to think of it, Dr. Sargent could not have been 
so very tall, but his head seemed higher up than other people's, 
and his thin back (I see him clad in a sober pepper and salt) 
longer and stiffer. One knew whenever he spoke, not without 
an austere twang; and I, at all events had a childish impression 
that his words implied disapproval. It was certainly to him that 
I attributed the ban put upon novel-reading (or was it merely 
novel-reading of a Sunday ?) at an age when I myself spent half 
my days over Fenimore Cooper and even the dangerous Chateau- 
briand. Similarly, he must have put some quite mysterious 
obstacle (I cannot for the life of me remember whether of the 
nature of words or doors) interposed between myself (and John, 
of course) and certain large livraisons of "Notre Dame de 
Paris," of which I can almost see the blood-curdling illustra- 
tion of Quasimodo au pi/ori. These volumes were in a spare 
room — perhaps a box-room, but with something funereal — 
of the Sargents' flat at Nice, which I was allowed to frequent. 

Their house was called Maison Virello, in the then outskirts 
of the town, with a garden of pepper-trees and those arid lilac 
and magenta winter flowers which I already detested. But we 
had the use of a much larger garden; the barracks of a house 
was called Maison Corinaldi, and ... I have it ! the street 
containing it and the Sargents' house was the Rue Grimaldi, 
all pronounced in French manner since the recent annexation 
by Napoleon III., then still glorious in waxed mustachios. In 


the garden common to all the many apartments of our Maison 
Corinaldi the children thereof naturally foregathered, among 
more pepper-trees, dwarf palms and other facilitations for (to 
me agonizing !) games of hide-and-seek. There was also a small 
pond, with a possibility of sailing for toy boats. Of course, 
John Sargent owned a toy sailing-boat, for was he not going 
into the United States Navy ? 

I used to hear that much about "Dr. Sargent's little boy" 
from sundry small Americans who played with me in that garden; 
and I must have seen him at the pond. But I am ashamed to 
say (it sounds like the beginning of an old-fashioned novel) 
that on our first introduction I actually mistook "Dr. Sargent's 
little boy" for another little boy (name, Tommy Walsh), and 
not without embarrassment to both of us. This, however, was 
dispelled by my ready "Do you like puzzles?" though I cannot 
remember the answer. Indeed, I cannot remember much about 
John Sargent's words and ways during that first winter — it was 
'66-'67 — of our acquaintance. I have a vivid recollection of 
gruesome, historical charades, in our rez-de-chaus'ee> whose steps 
into the garden were set with those dwarf rose-bushes aridly and 
artificially blooming at a season when I longed for ice and slides in 
gutters. Now, in these tragic representations there was always 
a boy, either decapitating Mary Queen of Scots with the fire 
shovel, or himself offering a bared neck on a footstool in the 
character of the Earl of Essex, myself figuring as Queen Elizabeth; 
but whether that boy was always or ever John Sargent, or some 
other of the small Americans of the Maison Corinaldi, I dare 
not affirm, though, as Gibbon remarks, I wish to believe. Simi- 
larly, I am not sure that Dr. Sargent's little boy took part (his 
sister was too delicate) in those expeditions to pick periwinkles 
among the dry reed-beds loomed over by the haunted Villa of 
Piol, or to pick up sun-dried and rain-soaked little figs such as 
would fall over remote orchard walls. 

Be this as it may, and whether because I was no longer whirl- 
ing in the unaccustomed childish sociabilities of the Maison 
Corinaldi and disoriented by all the unfamiliar southern things, 
or merely because I was now a self-sufficing person of eleven, 



this much is certain, that "the Sargents" began to play a 
dominant part in my life only the following year, when we had 
moved into a gaunt house facing the sea and the sweep of the 
Promenade des Anglais. Then was established a regular coming 
and going between us; weekly, or more frequent, afternoons 
spent together in our respective abodes. Afternoons, moreover, 
spent in painting. For, to readers unaware of my skill as an 
artist, it is well to explain that, in default of the spelling and 
caligraphy wherein John Sargent's infantile letters show perfect 
mastery of which mine are entirely devoid, I fell back, like other 
primitives, upon the use of pictographs. These were of so vast 
and elaborate a kind as to require constant supplies of paints 
and drawing-books; indeed, I sold my acquiescence in the family's 
plans and a modicum of good behaviour in return for painter's 
requisites, replenished at every birthday or journey or infant 
ailment. I do not know whether at that time John Sargent 
yet possessed a paint-box of his own. He certainly used mine. 
And I feel sure that my perennial supplies of water-colours and 
porcelain palettes and albums of vario-tinted paper were what 
drew him to me; and that our fraternal friendship grew out of 
those afternoons of painting together. Together \ in the sense that 
we consumed refreshments and paints in company, and conversed 
the while on elevated topics: I must have poured forth about the 
weekly nights in the family's box at the Nice opera, with vocal 
imitations, perhaps, of performers and discussion of the verisimili- 
tudes in Verdi's and Donizetti's librettos. But never did John 
Sargent participate in my pictorial self-expression or show any 
interest therein: to him paints were not for the telling of stories. 
There were illustrated books and papers lying about, and a 
stretch of Mediterranean and perspectived houses and coast- 
lines looked in at the windows, and to the reproduction of all 
these did John Sargent apply himself. And with miraculous 
intuition and dexterity. I can see in my mind's eye (for I saw 
it with the bodily one within the last half century, and even hope 
to find it in some mislaid portfolio) a "picture" which he made 
for my album. I can see the clean juxtaposed blue and green of 
sky and waves, the splendid tossing lines of sea and ships, see 


even the bold pencil title in a clearer version of his grown-up 
writing, the title in a corner, "U.S. Ship (name, alas, forgotten !) 
Chasing the Slaver Panther." His sister, on my mentioning this 
work, suggests that he may have copied it from some Illustrated 
London News or suchlike. Maybe, though I cannot recollect 
anything confirming her suggestion. But even if it was so 
copied, the rendering of the composition, the quality of the 
lines, above all, the fresh, slick colour which he had added, made 
it into a free translation, indeed, a transfiguration: thus did he 
already see, in that marvellous mind's eye of his, the things 
presented by Nature, or by other of her interpreters. At Nice, 
in 1867-68, John Sargent, in furtive use of his mother's paints, 
or long afternoons with my preposterous and horribly messy 
boxes, was already a painter. In spirit and in fact. 

But in his parents' and apparently his own intentions, acquies- 
cent expectation, he was a future U.S.A. sailor. That, I imagine 
(or was actually told), had been the chosen vocation of his father, 
and when for some reason, possibly health, that vocation was 
thwarted, Dr. Sargent, adopting another profession and, in 
expatriated wanderings, following none at all, had handed it over 
to his small son. The rather pale, melancholy dyspeptic (for 
did he not absorb a mysterious substance labelled " Pepsina 
Porci" ?)> that delicate, taciturn, austere — and oh so, so little of 
a jolly Tar ! — father, was evidently fascinated by the profession 
from which fate had excluded him. He frequented American 
warships and admirals (considerably unlike himself in person), 
and I cannot but fancy that his nautical patriotism had been 
heightened by, and in turn heightened, the rancours he nurtured 
concerning the Alabama business, then recent history, and the 
British attitude towards what he spoke of as "The Rebels." 

So John Sargent was taken to entertainments on board flag- 
ships at Villafranca, and his toy boats were the badge of his naval 
future. But Rome willed things otherwise. 



For the following winter, 1868-69, determining my own 
life, decided, I believe, that John Sargent was to be, not a 
naval officer, but a painter. 

Not because Rome — since , 68- , 69 meant Rome for both of 
us children — worked in him any such slow, far-reaching, passion- 
ate change of mind and heart as in myself. In him it was not 
needed; he was already himself. John Sargent remained, indeed, 
much of a small boy in appearance and manner; I can see him in 
his pepper-and-salt Eton jacket, bounding his way among the 
models and the costumed mendicants down the Spanish steps; 
and my mother used to describe "Johnny Sargent" as a 
"skippery boy." But for all that, I suspect he was already, 
however unconsciously, mature, from having a main interest 
in life and an orientation due to a supreme gift. So Rome's 
sights and atmosphere, even in those last papal years, were not 
required or able to work a change in him. In his quiet, grave 
way he was, of course, extremely interested in Rome, with the 
kind of interest displayed already in the accurate descriptions 
and dates and measurements of those earliest letters of his to 
Ben del Castillo. He read Becker's "Gallus" and chapters of 
Ampere's "Histoire Romaine a Rome." And together we spent 
hours over Murray's "Guide Book" and Smith's "Smaller 
Dictionary of Antiquities." But he never went mad about 
Rome, with that strange initial loathing which turned, as by an 
unpalatable philtre, into obsessing love. In our long discussion 
of dates of Emperors and names of places, and those joint readings 
(I can remember dear little Emily even copying out the article 
Triton) in the "Smaller Classical Dictionary," we were much 
of the same juvenile priggishness; but John's was a steady boyish 
priggishness, and borrowed the Dionysiac element from my 
already adolescent passion for all Rome meant. There was, of 
course, much fraternal give and take in our Roman interests and 
amusements: I took part in "bombarding" the pigs, then kept 
outside Porta del Popolo, with acorns and pebbles from the 


Pincian Terrace; and in burning holes in bay-leaves with a 
burning glass, until we were expelled as "enfants mal eleves" 
by the ferocious French porter of the Medici Gardens. I stained 
my fingers and messed my frocks furbishing verdigrised coins 
and other antiquities in a corner of that sitting-room of the little 
house of the Trinita dei Monti. John, in return, took a part in 
those Sixtine Chapel performances of ours in Dr. Sargent's empty 
(and happily remote !) bedroom, warbling in mimicry of the 
famous Mustafa and Davies. 

But there was no give and take, mere perfect fusion of desire 
and effort in our concentrated hunts for bits of antique marbles, 
digging them out of the pavement with out umbrella ferrules, 
and loitering behind our elders in the then desolate regions, 
between arum-fringed convent and villa walls, of the Esquiline 
and Viminal, until Dr. Sargent's stern "Come on, children" 
forced us to leave that half-dislodged scrap of porphyry or 
cipollino to some future walk in those classic purlieus. . . . 
Did I not recognize one of our cruelly abandoned pieces of green 
mottled serpentine in a gutter behind S. Maria Maggiore, some 
thirty years later, and should I not be able to show it you, or 
at least its place, even nowadays, fifty years after those walks ? 
Walks there were, also, in less passionate search for groundsel 
to give Emily's canary, groundsel growing in the Roman Forum, 
still undisturbed by Boni's diggings. However, our spirits 
responded in complete unison to less childish appeals. There 
were yet other walks on which you would meet Cardinals, and 
sometimes even Pio Nono himself, a white sash round his portly 
white middle, distributing benedictions with two extended 
fingers among the bay hedges and mossy fountains of Villa 
Borghese. There were early winter morning waits, jammed up 
among black-veiled ladies in St. Peter's, not without secret 
refreshment of biscuits and chocolate during the patient hours 
before some pontifical mass; and later afternoons in tinsel-hung 
churches, where tapers shone dim through the stale incense, and 
the little organs scrunched out chords as prelude to the bravuras 
of fluted sopranos and cooing throaty falsettos. There were 
scamperings, barely restrained by responsible elders, through icy 


miles of Vatican galleries, to make hurried forbidden sketches of 
statues selected for easy portrayal. Nor any less wonderful the 
hours {pijjcrari already droning at the corner shrine) at the 
windows of our own lodgings, opposite the palace of the Propa- 
ganda Fide, watching the Cinderella coaches, with emblazoned 
hammercloth and hanging gold-braided footmen, and the various 
Eminences — was that the villain Antonelli ? — alighting, draped 
in scarlet mantles and followed by scarlet ill-furled umbrellas of 
state. And such afternoons culminated in the advent (likewise 
watched from the windows) of the tin box of dinner, balanced 
on the head of the cookshop's porter, and balancing on its top 
the Charlotte Russe — whipped cream in a mural crown of sponge 
biscuits — expressly ordered to regale "the Sargents." Their 
parents did not have hot boxes from the cookshop. They kept 
a white-capped chef and gave dinner-parties with ices. . . . 
Indeed, with these dinner-parties my random reminiscences are 
at last converging back towards a narrative. For it would 
happen that when myself and protecting housemaid had clam- 
bered up the 200 steps leading from our Piazza Mignanelli to the 
one-storeyed and many-windowed house, hired for the winter by 
John and Emily's parents, I would meet cabs and vetture di 
rimessa, drawn up outside, and we children would eat downstairs 
while the dinner-party above sent us down its sumptuous broken 
victuals. Meanwhile, in the drawing-room, where the cupola 
of St. Peter's looked straight in at the windows for all the world 
like its sunset effigy on the lampshades we tried to imitate, in the 
drawing-room, between the marble busts of George Washington 
and of the Goddess Isis (since furnished lodgings in Rome never 
lacked gods or sibyls or stray martyrdoms), there were being 
entertained some of those legendary artists: Harriet Hosmer, 
Randolph Rogers, W. W. Story, and so forth, whose statues, 
each in every stage of wet-sheeted clay, pock-marked plaster, 
half-hewn or thoroughly sandpapered marble, were displayed 
on a weekly day by their explanatory creators, and which you 
can read about — and, of course, we children in 1868-69 were 
perpetually reading about — in Hawthorne's "Marble Faun." 
The "Marble Faun"! the illustrious prototypes of its Kenyon, 


Hilda and the other lady — ah ! her name was Miriam—some- 
how coupled (but children needn't ask why) with Beatrice Cenci 
— all these sculptors and sculptresses, as monumental as their own 
Zenobias and Libyan sibyls, were having coffee upstairs, with a 
due proportion of painters almost as crimson and gold as those 

And now I have worked my way to their presence, I am at 
last able to explain in what manner that winter in Rome deter- 
mined such share of John Sargent's future as had not been settled 
when destiny brought into the world one of the greatest of 
painters. For to these now long-forgotten immortals, Mrs. 
Sargent would occasionally display the sketches which her boy had 
made (using the maternal paint-box) when she sat on her camp- 
stool on some Roman villa terrace or before some sunset-flushed 
(for they always were flushed) broken arches of an aqueduct. 
Of course, the boy would never be more than an amateur, since 
he was, you know, going into the U.S. Navy. But for an amateur 
surely not without promise ? . . . 

I do not know that it was with my childish eyes of the body 
that I then saw what with the growing eyes of the spirit I have 
seen more and more clearly: namely dear, eloquent, rubicund, 
exuberant Mrs. Sargent, exhibiting those sketches not without 
wistful glances. And, on the other side, Dr. Sargent, thin, iron- 
grey and of iron, puritan stiffness, thinking perchance of the 
Alabama and the havoc she had wrought on the U.S. Navy; 
Dr. Sargent a little averted, or, at most, with some curt glance 
or word expressing his estimation of that small boy's futile 
talent; and, to anyone who could take his meaning, his repulsion 
from all this art, this expatriated fooling with paints and clay 
and all this doubtful world of marble fauns and spurious romance 
when there, out there, was the real, manly romance of the high 


I began these notes about John Sargent by saying that they 
would embody not so much facts — though I am not aware of 
having invented anything — as the legend of John Sargent, de- 



posited by unnoticed accretions in my mind, and found there 
now that, of a sudden, he has ceased existing for me anywhere else. 

This legend, which embodies, even if it does not exactly 
correspond with, the facts, is a very beautiful one, and runs as 

At the end of that winter in Rome, from no compliance with 
his delightful and insistent wife, still less owing to an expressed 
wish (I feel sure) on the part of that grave and docile son, so 
absorbed in the sights of the moment and the precocious habit 
of translating them into lines and colours — quite spontaneously 
Dr. Sargent found himself face to face with the startling possi- 
bility that God (since Dr. Sargent saw God's work everywhere) 
had given him a son who was a painter, and that if such proved 
to be the case, why his own wishes and hopes must go to the wall. 
I have confused remembrance of words to some such effect, 
words spoken before me or to my parents, or perhaps guesswork 
on the part, not of John and his sister, but of my more preco- 
ciously world-wise self. For, as already said, John seemed too 
much absorbed in his gifts to be thinking of their future, or to use 
childish pressure and machinations (as I might have done) to 
secure their cultivation. I imagine (and this, of course, is the 
legend in my mind) that, being a puritan, Dr. Sargent hated his 
son becoming that morally and socially doubtful creature, a 
painter; and, at the same time, also because he was a puritan, 
felt bound to sacrifice his own prejudices when they agreed 
with his own preferences: this rigorous man, from whom John 
Sargent surely inherited his horror of all lines of least resistance, 
may have questioned the legitimacy of that fear of art and 
Bohemianism because he recognized how passionately he had 
counted on his son becoming the seafaring man himself had 
longed to be. Be this as it may, the sacrifice was made, and in 
the completest, wisest manner: all facilities should be granted 
for John to become a painter, but never an amateur, and only 
when he had received such education as might enable him to 
know his own mind and, if need be, turn to other things. But 
of the U.S. Navy there could, of course, be no more question. 

Now, when I think that in 1868 we were barely out of the 


days of Give Newcome and of the "Scenes de la Vie de Boheme," 
and that even my own people, cosmopolitans and far less strait- 
laced than John's New England parents, still spoke of artists as 
vaguely undesirable; when I consider how far the normal life 
of an art-student in Paris differed, at best, from Dr. Sargent's 
habits, and what dangers must really have attended a transition 
from the one to the other; when, especially, I see in my mind's eye 
and hear in memory Dr. Sargent's figure and tone of voice, I 
cannot help thinking that this legend of Dr. Sargent's sacrifice 
of his wishes and fears to his son's genius is, whether or not 
literally true, beautiful enough for us to hope it may contain 
a core of truth. And its beauty is heightened, its truth vouched 
for, by my recollection of the attitude of John Sargent when he 
had long been a universally recognized great man, and his father, 
after a life of empty expatriation, had become a silent and broken 
old one. Shortly before that obscure life came to its end, I 
chanced to stay with the Sargent family near Reading; and I can 
never forget the loving tenderness with which, the day's work 
over, John would lead his father from the dinner table and sit 
alone with him till it was time to be put to bed. 

"I am going to sit and smoke," the old man repeated evening 
after evening, "with my son John." 

That, and not any consideration of this great painting or that, 
is what rounds off the legend of John Sargent's boyhood when 
we were children together, more than fifty years ago. 

This legend of the father and son is, properly, all I have to tell 
about John Sargent. For our real intimacy did not last beyond 
those years of our childhood and especially of that wonderful year, 
last but one of the Temporal Power, which good fortune gave us 
in each other's company in Rome. For while my people returned 
there for another four or five years, the Sargents, perhaps for the 
sake of a very good boys' school, settled in Florence. And when 
circumstances drifted us also to Florence in 1873, Dr. an d 
Mrs. Sargent, with Emily and an additional little daughter, 


had settled once more at Nice. And by that time Dr. Sargent's 
wisely and firmly carried out sacrifice of his own prejudices 
and wishes had already sent John by himself to study painting 
under Carolus in Paris. So our meetings became rare and brief. 
As happens (or happened in those distant more conservative 
times), once friends always friends; while with those who had been 
children together absence merely kept up the notion and the 
externalities of the interrupted fraternal intimacies of vanishing 
childhood. We corresponded more or less regularly, John and 
Emily and I; and on my part with a self-engrossed confidence 
that we were still and ever would be each other's closest friends. 
Indeed, I confess that my axiomatic belief that John Sargent 
was going to be the great painter of the future, a belief whose 
realization was later to surprise me as a wonderful coincidence, 
was at bottom due to a general faith, unadmitted but un- 
challenged, that everyone connected with myself must partake 
in the glory of my secret adolescent day-dreams. In these John 
Sargent was an unfailing figure. But the possession of a bona- 
fide brother, sufficiently my elder to engross all my juvenile 
worship, left for John only a comradeship which, though largely 
a matter of the imagination, was never anything more. Never 
did his comings and goings (one can discuss such emotional de- 
tails at near three score and ten !) occasion a heart-beat, nor bring 
those fine pangs which I had learned when almost a child (for I 
was a precocious votary of the genius loci) in my partings from 
Rome. Thus John remained merely the great painter and the 
comrade secretly expected to see in my vain self his equal and, 
so to speak, twin, in the sister-art of letters. In this taken-for- 
granted and, as remarked, mainly imaginary comradeship, our 
months of separation did not shake my faith. Nor — which was 
odder — was it shaken by the far-between brief meetings during 
our years of growing-up. One such, I remember, was on the 
Lake of Como — we were respectively fourteen and thirteen — 
where we picked up, not indeed antique marbles, but, as we had 
done at Nice, figs which had dropped over villa walls, while 
continuing, with Emily as a silent participator, our Roman 
discussion of the merits of Canova versus the Antique and Guido 


Reni compared with Rafael; and to read once more the extracts 
from "Childe Harold " in the guide book. Then, some years 
later, came ten days in a hotel (alas ! since profaned into a bank !) 
at Bologna; days of historical-romantic rapture, such as only 
adolescence can taste. 

By this time I was a half-baked polyglot scribbler of sixteen, 
and John a year older: a tall, slack, growing youth with as yet 
no sign of his later spick-and-span man-of-the-world appear- 
ance; did he not protect his rather stooping shoulders with a grey 
plaid shawl ? . . . He had very nearly completed his classical 
education in that Florence school and sundry German gymnasia, 
working hard, meanwhile, wherever there was an opportunity 
of drawing from the life or from casts: he was within a year or 
two of the promised initiation into Paris art-schools and entire 
independence. Yet so great was his, I know not whether to call 
it modesty or reserve, that I cannot remember his ever mention- 
ing his future. So those ten days were lived by John and me in 
a present of our imagination, or, rather, a fantastic past we were 
making up as we went along; rambling, as we did — Mrs. Sargent, 
my mother, John, Emily and myself — by moonlight, through the 
mediaeval arcades and under the leaning towers and crenellations 
of that enormously picturesque and still unspoilt city. While, 
of a morning, after threading our way among the bullocks chariot- 
ing the vintage, we would spend hours over the portfolios of 
prints and the unreadable (for they were bristling with various 
clefs of Ut) scores of the music school. Nor was a word ever 
exchanged, save about the half imaginary sights we saw, the (I 
now think) wholly imaginary personages whose portraits sur- 
rounded us; and the music, which we had as yet scarcely ever 
heard, of those eighteenth-century composers who already fired 
my enthusiasm. It is characteristic of John Sargent's good- 
natured modesty and his willingness (as in Rome) to fall in with 
my fancies that, being a nearly grown-up painter, he readily set 
to copying some marvellously hideous portraits of the musicians 
("Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter") 
I idolized. So that I still cherish a careful water-colour of a 
youthful portrait of Mozart — Mozart, who never appealed to 



him, because lacking the exotic, far-fetched quality which always 
attracted John Sargent in music, literature, and, for many years, 
in persons. Which leads to the remark that those days at Bologna 
already showed that imaginative quality of his mind with which 
he transfigured my own priggish historical sentimentalities. The 
words "strange, weird, fantastic" were already on his lips — 
and that adjective curious , pronounced with a long and some- 
how aspirated u y accompanied by a particular expression half of 
wonder and half of self-irony. That word curious was to me, at 
least, his dominant word for many years, in our meetings in 
Florence, in Paris (on my way to England) and then, and when, 
after the Gautreau annoyance had made him change his abode, 
in the various studios he occupied in London. 

Indeed, as time interposed longer intervals between our 
meetings, and filled up the intervening absences more and more 
with interests unshared by the other, that word curious be- 
came the keynote of John Sargent's and my conversation; the 
cliche representing a stereotyped reciprocal attitude such as 
alas, alas, is often all that remains in the externally unchanged 
relations of once fraternal friends. 

Recognizing such to have been the case, despite all John's 
unfailing kindness towards me, I recognize once more that all 
I can tell, first hand, of his life and character is contained in the 
legend of what his father did for him and what he came to feel 
for his father. 


However, I should like to say some more about the double 
nature which, as it seems to me, John Sargent had inherited 
from his exuberantly gifted, expressive and lebenslustige mother, 
on the one hand, and from his puritan, reserved and rather sternly 
dissatisfied father, on the other. For people appear to have seen 
only one side at a time, and failed to appreciate both his many- 
sidedness and the complexity of his genius: that double nature 
of his occasionally self-conflicting, but more often harmoniously 
blended, as becomes a creature of supreme facility and of restless, 
indomitable passion for the difficult. 


But before going any further I ought to mention that the 
little which Sargent told me or let me gather in conversation 
about his attitude to his art does not extend much beyond our 
young days. For John Sargent had an artist's instinctive dislike, 
not indeed for ordinary " art-criticism/' of which scraps would 
crop up in his own talk, but for a newfangled application to 
art of psychological research which I began attempting some 
thirty years ago. At that time he even overcame his great 
personal reserve to the extent of admonishing me, in a deliberate 
and emphatic tete-a-tete , to confine myself to literature and give 
up once for all such studies in empirical aesthetics as were later 
published in my volume "Beauty and Ugliness. ,, In his eyes 
all this was preposterous and, I suspect, vaguely sacrilegious. 
Now, as I declined to yield to my dear old playfellow's dictation 
on this subject, and also failed to make him recognize that art 
could afford to other folk problems quite apart from those dealt 
with by the artist and the art-critic; as, moreover, Sargent did 
not like opposition nor I dogmatism, a tacit understanding hence- 
forth kept us off anything which might lead to either. So our 
conversation turned more and more exclusively on books, music 
and people, about all of which John Sargent was a delightful 
talker and I an often delighted listener. With the result that 
the little I can tell about Sargent's views on painting must be 
referred solely to his and my earlier years. More particularly to 
his first stay in London in 1881, when he painted my portrait; 
to a meeting at Siena, in company with Mrs. Stillman; and to the 
month at Fladbury, near Evesham, when he did a pencil drawing 
of me. Moreover, generally speaking, to my brief yearly visits 
to Paris, where he would show me the Salon, and we sat talking 
in his studio near the Fortifications. There, and it seems as 
if for years, he was engrossed in perpetually dissatisfied (and, 
as regards the Parisian public, disastrous) attempts to render 
adequately the "strange, weird, fantastic, curious' 1 beauty of 
that peacock-woman, Mme. Gautreau. 

Those words I have just quoted, in use already before he 
went to Paris, expressed one whole side of John Sargent's tenden- 
cies. As a young man he was, and perhaps remained, especially 


attracted by the bizarre and outlandish: Spanish dancers (the 
Jaleo and the wonderful frontispiece to Miss Strettell's transla- 
tions) posed and lit up in enigmatic fashion; Spanish Madonnas 
like idols, and Javanese dancers scarcely more barbarically im- 
probable; and that Fumee d'Ambregris, a Moorish woman 
veiled in incense fumes, which was, I think, his earliest public 
success. Such were his individual predilections. But his student 
days with Carolus fell under the reign of Manet, Degas, Monnet 
and Renoir, whose realistic creed is set forth in Zola's "Mes 
Haines." And when I met him, during his Paris years, in 1881, 
he described himself as an impressionist and an "intransigeant," 
entirely given up to the faithful reproduction of "les valeurs." 
Indeed, for years after, and maybe to the very end of his days, I 
feel certain that his conscious endeavour, his self-formulated 
program, was to paint whatever he saw with absolute and re- 
searchful fidelity, never avoiding ugliness nor seeking after beauty. 
But, like most, though perhaps not all, supreme artists, John 
Sargent was not aware of what he was really about, nor in what 
manner his superficial verbal program was for ever disregarded 
by the unspoken, imperious synthesis of his particular tempera- 
ment and gifts. Also, like other painters of those ingenuous, 
unpsychological days, John Sargent did not know that seeing 
is a business of the mind, the memory and the heart, quite as 
much as of the eye; and that the valeurs which the most stiff- 
necked impressionist could strive after were also values of associa- 
tion and preference. Now, to his constitution, ugliness and 
vulgarity were negative values, instinctively avoided. In theory, 
John Sargent would doubtless have defended Manet for cutting 
some of his figures in half and even decapitating them by the 
frame, let alone choosing to portray bounders and sots in ballet- 
stalls and bars. I can almost hear him taking a brief for Renoir's 
crowd of cads and shop-girls under umbrellas; and for Degas's 
magnificent lady in her bathroom, under the ministrations of 
the corn-cutter. But Sargent never painted such things himself. 
His faithfulness was to selected detail of reality, not to reality 
as a promiscuous whole; it did not go beyond perspective oddities 
of posture or improbable-looking colour and light on skin, hair 


and stuffs. And when he painted certain types of rapacity and 
vulgarity, he raised them to the same sublime intensity as did 
Rafael, that other cruellest of portrait-painters, in his hog Pope 
and fox-and-ferret Cardinals. 

Even in these cases it must have been Sargent's taste for the 
far-fetched which made it possible to adhere to his puritanical 
rule of exercising no choice among intending sitters. And when 
left to itself Sargent's outspoken love of the exotic was but the 
unavowed love of rare kinds of beauty, for incredible types of 
elegance like his Mme. Gautreau, or the heavenly loveliness of 
transient light and evanescent youth in his Carnation Lily. 
The endless labour on that (surely his true) masterpiece would 
have been justified by himself on the score of " effects" of 
mingled twilight and lantern-light on faces and flowers and 
greensward; effects (he would have called them "curious" and 
later "amusing") — to be faithfully reproduced because such 
arduous conquests of "reality" were the puritan painter's 
excuse for his art. But the result of it all was the most poetical 
figure-picture of modern times, a picture, as Mary Duclaux 
said on its first appearance, which was really an altar-piece, 
those Barnard children in pinafores becoming more than Botti- 
cellian angels lighting up the shrine of an invisible Madonna, a 
Madonna immanent in the roses and lilies and the fading summer 

That picture, of any pictures ever painted perhaps the one 
giving me the same artistic happiness as the slow movement of 
certain Mozart quartets, that penetratingly beautiful Carna- 
tion Lily y makes me wish to say a few more words about the 
nature of Sargent's imagination, if only to express my gratitude 
for it. I have spoken, almost overmuch, of his love for the 
bizarre. But that, however evident, was a superficial trait, 
perhaps the mere reaction of an austerely fastidious nature 
against the crassness with which some of his greatest contem- 
poraries accepted, indeed sought for, commonplace, ugly and 
ignoble subjects for their painting. It may also have been 
connected with the Parnassian, the Heredia and Leconte de 
Lisle movement in literature. I can conceive that at any other 


time than the eighties or nineties, and with any other surround- 
ings than the expensive and traditionless "tastefulness" of the 
wordly people who sat for him, this bizarre element might have 
vanished from Sargent's work. The boyish hankering after the 
" curious " would have been entirely transmuted into the par- 
ticular imaginative habit, poetical, yet of almost scientific insight, 
which distinguishes Sargent as much as his individual quality 
of line and colour. Just as his eye — or what we call eye for want 
of a better name — took in with marvellous subtlety all the 
visible relations making up the shape of objects, and his hand — 
(again for want of a better name) — transferred them to canvas 
or paper with prestigious swiftness and decision, so also Sargent's 
imagination perceived all those other relations, relations for the 
mind and the emotions, which give all objects and persons a 
significance ramifying far beyond their mere present self, give 
them, for instance, a past and a future. Thus I remember 
Professor Geddes remarking that Sargent's Alpine sketches 
showed a geologist the composition of the rocks and the manner 
their shapes had been modelled by water and ice and sun and 
wind. And Sargent was not a geologist. Similarly, no doubt, 
with his portrayal of vegetation. So far was he from the com- 
placent impressionist formula of representing things without 
knowing what they were ! Sargent may not have known what 
they were called^ but take, for instance, his Ruskinian rendering 
of the planes and angles of architecture, why, every exquisite, 
sharp, yet tender corner shows the four-square shape of the 
building, records the certainty that cornice or capital or archway 
would have revealed definite loveliness of shape if seen from 
another or nearer point of view. Because Sargent had seen it, 
felt it, remembered it, and, with no need for verbal expression, 
had told us what there would remain to be seen, merely by his 
intuitive choice of the most significant aspects actually visible. 
Quite similarly do I explain the revelations of his portrait paint- 
ing. I remember once asking whether he was aware of the 
character of the people he painted; and his denial of all knowledge 
of and interest in their psychology is surely confirmed by the 
very fact that (as in the imaginary cases of that Five Towns 


Magnate of Arnold Bennett's story) this most reserved and 
delicately unmercenary of artists did make certain portraits of 
certain sitters, and pocket the price, evidently without a sus- 
picion of what he had told about those who paid it. That quite 
unverbal, intuitive imagination of his had fastened on the facial 
forms, the pose and gesture, sometimes even the accessories, 
which revealed the man or woman's character and life. To this 
kind of imagination I would apply Ruskin's adjective penetrative^ 
for Sargent's art does penetrate to the innermost suggestion 
of everything he painted, but does so by following its merely 
visible elements. I do not think Sargent, despite the infinite 
ingenuity he showed in his attempts, was an imaginative painter 
like Watts or Besnard, imaginative in the sense of building up 
allegories and narrating events. His symbolism was immanent 
in the aspects which he painted. Who else has ever expressed 
the tragedy of war as he has done in his group of gassed soldiers, 
its horror conveyed without contortion or grimace; and war's 
tragedy assigned a subordinate and transitory place in the order 
of things by that peaceful landscape and the game of football in 
the middle distance. This composition is as majestically serene 
as some antique frieze; while for the emotions of the beholder 
it is terrible, like a chapter of Tolstoi. 

I should have like to add that, besides significance, Sargent 
extracted and made visible the actual beauty of the world; 
and never so much as in the innumerable oil sketches and water- 
colours which make him one of the greatest of landscape painters. 
But I want to close on another note. More and more it has 
seemed to me that Sargent's life was absorbed in his painting; 
and the summing up of a would-be biographer must, I think, be: 
he painted. To some of us he seemed occasionally to paint to the 
exclusion of living. In latter years he seemed to be painting 
from morning till night, an easel, more than metaphorically, 
in every corner, a picture under way for every effect of changing 
weather. But looking over the portfolios and portfolios of 
sketches, thinking of all the more elaborated landscapes: Venice, 
Carrara Quarries, Alps, Architecture, and even such things as 
some divinely exquisite silvery wooden palings against a green 


Tyrolese meadow, I recognize that his life was not merely in 
painting, but in the more and more intimate understanding 
and enjoying the world around him, and which the work of his 
incomparable hand enables some of us, also, to understand and 
enjoy, if only in part. 

As regards our friendship, I have sometimes regretted that, 
having started with such early intimacy, I did not get, or try, 
to know John Sargent better. But, after all, what can be better 
than knowing a great man, not in the details of his common 
personal existence, but in the impersonal feelings and thoughts 
special to his greatness, and which he enabled us to share with 

him ? VERNON LEE. 

August ijth, XXV. 

Sargent's Pictures in Oils 

Abbreviations as follows :- 


Cor. Gal. 







Nat. Port. Soc. 





Paris Univ. 





R.S.A., Edin. 


Bot. C. 


Copley Hall, Boston. 

Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington. 

Franco-British Exhibition, White City, London, 1908. 

Great Central Art Gallery, New York. 

Grosvenor Gallery, London. 

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. 

National Academy of Design, New York. 

National Portrait Society, London. 

New English Art Club. 

New Gallery, London. 

New Salon, Paris. 

New York. 

The Universal Exposition of Paris, 1900. 

Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. 

Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh. 

Royal Academy, London. 

Royal Society of Arts, London. 

Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh. 

Paris Salon. 

St. Botolph Club, Boston. 





Benjamin Kissam. 32X26. C.H. ,1899; 
M.F.A., 1925. 

Mrs. A. C. Train. 


Portrait de Mile. W. S., 1877. 



Mrs. H. F. Hadden. 36x29. G.C.A.G., 
1924; M.F.A., 1925. 

Mrs. Hadden. 


Robert de Civrieux (Age 6) with Dog. 
33X19. M.F.A., 1925. 

M.F.A., Boston. 


Carolus Duran. 371X46. S., 1879; 
Penn., 1921; Pitt., 1921. 

Mr. R. F. Clark. 


Carolus Duran. 13IX10. Study, seated. 
Christies, 1925 (210). 



Carolus Duran. On panel, seated in arm- 
chair. 13^ Xio|. Christies, 1925 (211). 

Miss Jane Nichols. 


Edward Burckhardt. M.F.A. 22X18. 
S., 1881; N.Y., 1898, 1899; C.H., 
1899; M.F.A., 1925. 

Mrs. Harold FarquharHadden. 


Ralph Curtis on a beach at Scheveningen. 

Mrs. Ralph Curtis. 


Mrs. Charles Gifford Dyer. 24^X17. 
G.C.A.G., 1924. 

Art Institution, Chicago. 


2 5 8 








Gordon Gronough. Venice, 1880. 
Edouard Pailleron. S., 1880. 
Mme. Edouard Pailleron. S., 1880. 
Henry St. John Smith. 24X19^. C.H., 

1889; M.F.A., 1925. 
Lady with the Rose. 84X44. G.C.A.G., 

I92 4 ;M.F.A., 1883 and I925;S.,i88i; 

R.A., 1882. 
James Lawrence. 24X18. M.F.A., 

1925; C.H., 1896. 
Mrs. James Lawrence. 24X18. M.F.A., 

1925; M.M.A., 1926 (6); C.H., 1896. 
Dr. Pozzi. Signed and dated. 
Portrait of a Lady. 20X16. R.A., 1926 

Portrait de M. E. P. et de Mile. L. P. 

S., 1881. 


Portrait de Mme. R. S. S., 1 
Mme. R. S. S., 1881, Medal. 
Mrs. Valle Austin. S., 1882; Cor. Gal., 

Daughters of Edward D. Boit. 87^ X 

87§. S., 1883; M.M.A., 1926. 
Mile. L. Cagnard. 18X14. R.A., 1926 

Mr. and Mrs. John W. Field. 44X32. 

G.C.A.G., I924;M.F.A., 1925; Penn., 

Thornton K. Lothrop. 28 X21. St. Bot. 

C, 1888-89; C.H.,1899; M.F.A.,1916 

and 1925. 
Portrait de Mile. XXX. S., 1882. 
A Portrait. R.A., 1882. 
Mrs. Charles D. Barrows. 25X20^. 

M.F.A., 1925. 
Portrait of a Young Girl. C.H., 1899; 

M.F.A., 1916. 
Portrait of a Child. M.F.A., 1883. 
Portrait des Enfants. S., 1883. 
Mrs. Charles J. White (Portrait of a 

Young Girl). C.H., 1899- 
Mme. Errazuriz. 
MadameX. (Portrait ofMme.Gautreau). 

1884. 82X43. S., 1889. M.M.A., 

1926 (10). 
Mrs. Moore. 70X44. Signed and dated. 

R.A., 1926 (589). 


Mrs. Ralph Curtis. 

Henry St. John Smith. 

Mrs. Harold Farquhar Hadden. 

Mrs. Nathaniel F. Emmons. 

Mrs. Nathaniel F. Emmons. 

In Pozzi Sale. Paris, June, 191 9. 
Miss V. Paget. 

St. Louis. 

M. F. A. Boston. 

Alec Martin. 

Penn. Academy Fine Arts. Pre- 
sented by Mrs. J. W. Field, 

Sir W. Orpen. 

Mrs. Thornton K. Lothrop. 

H. McK. Twombly. 

Mrs. Charles J. White. 
Mrs. Eleanor J. Chapman. 

Kirkham V. Hall, N.Y. 
Metropolitan Museum. 

C. S. Carstairs, Esq. 







Rafael del Castello Nunez. 

Count Nunez de Castello. San 
Remo, Italy. 


Portrait de Mme. XXX. S., 1884. 



"Pointy" Dog. G.C.A.G., 1924. 

Mrs. Hadden. 


Edith, Lady Playfair. 59X38. Signed 
and dated. R.A., 1926 (337); St. Bot. 
C, 1887. 

Edith, Lady Playfair. 


Mrs. Thomas Wodehouse Legh (now 
Lady Newton). Signed and dated. 
G.G., 1884. 

The Lord Newton. 


The Misses Vickers. 53-2X72. Signed 
and dated. R.A., 1886 and 1926 (8); 
S., 1885; Paris Univ., 1900. 

Douglas Vickers. 


Mrs. Henry White. R.A., 1884; Paris 
Univ., 1900; Cor. Gal., 1916-17; 
G.C.A.G., 1924. 

Hon. Henry White. 


Mrs. Burckhardt and Daughter. 79^ X 
S&h. S., 1886; M.M.A., 1926 (12). 

Mrs. Harold Farquhar Hadden. 


Mrs. Frederick Barnard. 40X21^. Inscr. 
"To Alice Barnard." 



Madame Gautreau. 81 X42. A Study. 
In black evening dress, holding a fan. 
Christies, 1925 (79); R.A., 1926 (451). 

Tate Gallery. 


Mrs. Mason. G.G., 1885. 

Mrs. Edward Balfour. 


Portrait de Mme. V. (Vickers ?). S., 1885. 



Robert Louis Stevenson. 20^X24^. 
N.E.A.C, 1887; G.C.A.G., 1924; 
M.M.A., 1926. 

Mrs. Payne Whitney. 


Robert Louis Stevenson. St.Bot.C.,1887; 
Penn., 1899; C.H., 1899. 

Mrs. Charles P. Taft. 


Mrs. Vickers (see Mme. V.). R.A., 1886. 



Mrs. Douglas Dick of Pitkerro. 63 X36. 
Signed and dated. R.A., 1926 (406). 

Mrs. Douglas Dick of Pitkerro. 


Edmund Gosse(nowSir). R.A.,i926(5i). 

Sir Edmund Gosse, C.B. 


Head of a Girl. 18X15. R.A., 1926 (413). 

V. C. Vickers. 


Mrs. Harrison. R.A., 1886. 



Portrait of a Lady. N.E.A.C, 1886. 



Mrs. Wilton and Winston Phipps. 
London, 1886; G.C.A.G., 1924. 

Mrs. Henry Phipps. 


Portrait de Mme. et Mile. B. S., 1886. 



Edith, Lady Playfair. 26^X175. Signed. 
R.A., 1926 (442). 

Edith, Lady Playfair. 


Mrs. Albert Vickers. 82 X39. Signed. 
R.A., 1886 and 1926 (411). 

V. C. Vickers. 


Mrs. Cecil Wade. 64X53. Signed and 
dated. R.A., 1926 (349). 

Miss Wade. 


Gordon Fairchild. 2o£Xi6f. M.F.A., 
1925 (i39). 

Gordon Fairchild. 







Mrs. Charles Fairchild. 19X18. 
M.F.A., 1925. 

Gordon Fairchild. 


Helen M. Harrison. 

Mrs. R. H. C. Harrison. 


Head of a Child. 16X14. Signed and 
dated. R.A., 1926 (383). 

Mrs. Maurice McMillan. 


Mrs. Charles E. Inches. 34X24. 
St. Bot. C, 1881-89; N.A.D., 1888; 
World's Fair, Chicago, 1893; C.H., 
1897 and 1899; G.C.A.G., 1924; 
M.F.A., 1925; M.M.A., 1926 (16). 

Mrs. Charles E. Inches. 


Mrs. Henry G. Marquand. 66IX42. 
R.A., 1888; Penn., Pitt., C.H., 1924; 
M.M.A., 1926. 

Mrs. Allam Marquand. 


Lawrence Millet. 29IX20. Inscr. "To 
Mrs. Millet." R.A., 1926 (20). 

Mrs. F. D. Millet. 


Mrs. F. D. Millet. 3$ 2 X27£. Inscr. 
"To my Friend Mrs. Millet." C.H., 
1899; R.A., 1926 (31). 

Mrs. F. D. Millet. 


Dr. William Playfair. 29I X22|. Signed. 
R.A., 1926 (391). 

Nigel Playfair. 


Mrs. William Playfair. 59X38. Signed 
and dated. R.A., 1887, 1926 (346); 
S., 1888. 

Nigel Playfair. 


Portrait of Child (Ruthie Sears Bacon). 
481x36. M.F.A., 1925; M.M.A., 
1926 (15). 

Mrs. Austin Cheney. 


Royal E. Robbins. M.F.A. 

Mrs. John Caswell. 


Dr. Gorham Bacon (Child). 1888. 
N.A.D., St. Bot. C, C.H., 1899. 

Dr. Gorham Bacon. 


Mrs. Edward D. Boit. 59X41!. Signed. 
R.A., 1888 and 1926 (280); St. Bot.C, 
1888-89; Paris Univ., 1900. 

Miss Boit. 


Cecil, Son of Robert H. C. Harrison. 
68 X32. Signed. R.A.,i888,i926(556). 

Mrs. R. H. C. Harrison. 


Mrs. Malcolm Forbes, Sons of. St. Bot. 
C, 1888-89. 



Gen. Lucius Fairchild. St. Bot. C, 

State Historical Society, Wis- 

1888-89; M.F.A., 1925. 



Mrs. Lucius Fairchild. St. Bot. C, 



Caspar Goodrich. 26x19. M.M.A., 
M.F.A., St. Bot. C, 1888-89; N.Y., 
1889-90; C.H., 1899; M.F.A., 1925; 
M.M.A., 1926. 

Mrs. C. T. Davis. 


Mrs. John L. Gardner. 

Isabella Stewart Gardner Mu- 


Mrs. Adrian Iselin. 6o| X36%. G.C.A.G., 


Miss Georgine^Iselin. 







Mrs. Dave Hennen Morris as a Child 
(1888). H. 20X22. M.M.A., 1926 

Claude Monet painting by the Edge of a 

Mrs. Dave II. Morris. 


Tate Gallery. 

Wood. 20*, X25J. Christies, 1925(140). 


Miss Violet Sargent. 

Jean Louis Ormond. 


Mrs. Elliott F. Shepard. 84X48. 
M.F.A., 1925; M.M.A., 1926 (17). 

Mrs. William Jay Shieffelin. 


Mrs. Jacob Wendell. 60X36. M.F.A., 

Mrs. R. J. A. van der Woude. 


DennisMillerBunker. 18X14. St.Bot.C, 
1888, 1889; M.F.A., 1899, 1925. 

Tavern Club, Boston. 


Miss Dorothy Barnard (unfinished). 

27x15. R.A., 1926 (595). 

The Misses Barnard. 


Mrs. Richard H. Derby. C.H., 1899. 

Mrs. Richard H. Derby. 


Girl in a White Muslin Dress (see Miss 
Anstruther Thompson). Cor. Gal., 



The late Mrs. George Gribble. 88 X45I. 
Signed. R.A., 1889 and 1926 (553). 

G. J. Gribble, Esq., J.P. 


Portrait of Mme. Helleu. 31 1 X39i- 



Mrs. L. A. Harrison by Lamplight. 
26x21^. Inscr. "To my Friend 
Miss Strettell." R.A., 1926 (17). 

Mrs. L. A. Harrison. 


Paul Helleu sketching with his Wife. 
26 X32. M.F.A., 1925; M.M.A., 1926. 

Brooklyn Museum. 


George Henschel (now Sir). Inscr. "To 
my Friend Henschel." R.A., 1889; 
St. Bot. C, 1890; C.H., 1895. 

Sir George Henschel. 


Henry Irving (as Friar John). 



Henry Irving. R. A., 1889. 



Mrs. Ormond by a River. The Morning 

J. L. Ormond. 


Miss Priestley. 35I X24I. Signed. R.A., 
1926 (40). 

Miss Emily Sargent. 


Miss Priestley and Mrs. Ormond. 22 X 
i6|. R.A., 1926 (558). 

Mrs. Francis Ormond. 


Miss Violet Sargent (Mrs. Ormond), 
1889. Inscr. "To Emily with a Merry 
Xmas." 231x15. R.A., 1926 (366). 

Miss Sargent. 


Alice V. Shepard (age 14), 1889. 
G.C.A.G., 1924. 

Mrs. Dave H. Morris. 


Miss Violet Sargent. 

Miss Emily Sargent. 


Miss Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth. S., 
1890; N.G., 1889; World's Fair, Chi- 
cago, 1893; Dublin, 1898. 

Tate Gallery. 


Mrs. Walter Rathbone Bacon, 1890. 
82X36. M.F.A., 1925. 

Hon. Mrs. John F. A. Cecil. 







Miss Eleanor Brooks (Mrs. R. M. Salton- 
stall). Sketch. M.F.A., 1925. 

Mrs. R. M. Saltonstall. 


Miss Eleanor Brooks (Mrs. Richard M. 
Saltonstall). 60X37. M.F.A., 1925; 
C.H., 1890. 

Mrs. R. M. Saltonstall. 


Peter Chardon Brooks. 27X24. St. 
G.C.A.G., 1924; M.F.A., 1925. 

Mrs. R. M. Saltonstall. 


Mrs. Peter C. Brooks. 50X40. St. Bot. 
C, 1891; C.H., 1899; M.F.A., 1925. 

Mrs. R. M. Saltonstall. 


Edwin Booth (Sketch of). G.C.A.G., 

Mrs. Willard Straight, now 


Mrs. Leonard Elmhurst. 


Edwin Booth. 87£x6if. M.M.A., 

The Players, N.Y. 

Lawrence Barrett. N.A.D., 1890. 

Players Club, N.Y. 


Edwin Booth (Sketch). C.H., 1896 and 
1899; M.F.A., 1916. 

Gordon Fairchild. 


Carmencita (Study). C.H., 1899. 



Carmencita (Sketch). 28^X19!. 

Mrs. Ormond. 


Christies, 1925 (119). 


Mrs. Comyns Carr. 251x19!. Inscr. 
"Comyns Carr." Signed (apparently 
twice). N.G., 1890; Knoedler, N.Y., 



Mrs. Francis H. Dewey. 36X31. 
Washington, 1912-13; Pitt., 1913; 
Worcester, 1914; M.F.A., 1925. 

Francis H. Dewey. 


Gordon Fairchild seated in a Chair, 
39X53- C.H., 1917. 



Mrs. James T. Fields. 32X53. M.F.A., 

Boylston Beale, Esq. 


Beatrice Goelet. N.Y., 1891, 1895. 

Robert Walton Goelet. 


Robert Harrison, 1890. 



Mrs. Augustus Hemenway. 32X25. 
C.H., 1897, 1899; G.C.A.G., 1924; 
M.F.A., 1925. 

Augustus Hemenway. 


Joseph Jefferson (as Dr. Panglois in 
"The Heir at Law"). M.M.A., 1926 
(22); N.Y., 1890; N.E.A.C., 1893. 

The Players, N.Y. 


Joseph Jefferson (Head). M.F.A., 1890; 
G.C.A.G., 1924; M.F.A., 1925; 
M.M.A., 1926; M.F.A., 1922. 

Estate of J. S. S. 


The late Lady Knaresborough (Lady 
Meysey Thompson). 63X39. Signed. 
R.A., 1902 and 1926 {$6$). 


Mrs. Kissam (Mrs.K). 20X36. M.F.A.. 
1925; R.A., 1890; Penn., 1917; Cor. 

Mrs. George Vanderbilt. 

Gal., 1916-17. 







Miss LouiseLoring (Oil Sketch). 32X25. 
M.F.A., 1925. 

Miss Katherine P. Loring. 


Mrs. Augustus Loring. 50X40. M.F.A., 
1891, 1925; Penn., St. Bot. C, 1891; 
C.H., 1899; G.C.A.G., 1924; M.M.A., 

Hon. Henry Cabot Lodge. N.Y., 1897; 

Augustus P. Loring. 


H. C. Lodge, Estate of. 

Penn., 1898; C.H., 1899; Ccr. Gal., 



Mother and Child (Mrs. Edward Living- 
ston Davis and Son). N.Y., 1890 and 
1891; M.F.A., 1891, 1895, 1916, 1919, 
1924; Chicago, 1893; Penn., 1896; 
C.H., 1890; Cor. Gal., 1909. 


Portrait Study (E. A.). 



Miss Katherine Pratt. 40 X30. World's 
Fair, Chicago, 1893; Penn., 1894; 
M.F.A., 1895 and 1916; C.H., 1899; 
Cor. Gal., 1910-11; Worcester, 1914; 
G.C.A.G., 1924; M.F.A., 1925. 

Frederick S. Pratt. 


Portrait of a Lady. R.A.,i890;N.E.A.C, 

Miss Sargent. 


George Peabody. 34X26. C.H., 1898, 
1899; M.F.A., 1925. 

George A. Peabody. 


Portrait of a Lady. 40X50. R.A., 1890; 
M.M.A., 1926 (24). 

Augustus P. Loring. 


Mrs. Richard M. Saltonstall. C.H., 1 895, 
1899; M.F.A., 1925. 



Miss Sargent (the artist's sister aboard 
ship), iof X7§. M.F.A., 1925. 

Mrs. Frederick Eldridge. 


Saint Gaudens, Homer, and Mother, 
56x37. N.Y., 1 890; M.F.A., Chicago, 
1983; C.H., 1899; M.F.A., 1899, 1900, 
1925; G.C.A.G., 1924. 

Homer Saint Gaudens. 


Miss Ellen Terry, Study for, as Lady 
Macbeth. R.A., 1926 (373). 

Miss Edith Craig. 


Mrs. Hamilton McKown Twombley. 
87X56. M.F.A., 1925. 

Mrs. H. McK. Twombley. 


Study ofYoung Woman (Sally Fairchild). 

f Mrs. Charles Fairchild. 
\ Gordon Fairchild. 

30X25. M.F.A., 1925. 


Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt, 1890. 



La Carmencita. 90X54^. R.A., 1891 
and 1926 (277); N.S., 1892. 

Luxembourg Museum. 


Mrs. Edward Livingston Davis and Son. 
86X48. C.H., 1899; M.F.A., 1922 
and 1925; G.C.A.Q., 1924; M.M.A., 

Livingston Davis. 


Mrs. M. R.A., 1891. 







Mrs. Thomas Lincoln Manson. R.A., 
1891; M.F.A., 1899; N.Y., 1913; 
G.C.A.G., 1924. 

Mrs. Kiliaen van Rensselaer. 


Mrs. Thomas L. Manson, Jr. R.A., 1 89 1 ; 
N.Y., 1899; C.H., 1899. 

Thomas L. Manson, N.Y. 


A Portrait. N.G., 1891. 



Portrait de Jeune Garcon. S., 1 891. 



Miss Palmer (Mrs. L. Meyers). 29^X24^. 
N.G., i89i;R.A., 1926 (388). 

Mrs. L. Meyers. 


Edouard Pailleron and Mile. L. Pailleron. 
S., 1891. 



Portrait of Young Lady. N.G., 1891. 



Hon. Thomas B. Reed. 32X26. Penn., 

House of Representatives, 

1889; Capitol, Washington, 1899; 


C.H., i8 99 ;M.F.A., 1925. 


D. Vergeres. Inscr. "A mon ami Ver- 



Miss Helen Dunham. N.E.A.C, 1892; 
World's Fair, Chicago, 1893; N.A.D., 
1895; C.H., 1899. 

James H. Dunham, N.Y. 


Master Skene Keith. 30X26. Inscr. 
"To my Friend Mrs. Keith." R.A., 
1926 (367). 


Elizabeth, Lady Lewis (Mrs. George 
Lewis). 531X30^. Signed and dated. 
N.G., 1893; R.A., 1926 (382). 

Elizabeth, Lady Lewis. 


John Alfred Parsons Millet. 35IX23I. 
Inscr. "To my Friend Mrs. Millet." 

Mrs. F. D. Millet. 


John Singer Sargent. 21X17. M.F.A., 
1925; M.M.A., 1926. 

Nat. Acad, of Design, N.Y. 


J. Sutcliffe of Bradford. 

James Sutcliffe. 


Lady Agnew of Lochnaw. 492X392. 
C.H., 1899; R.A., 1893, 1926 (25); 
Pitt., 1924. 

Nat. Gal. of Scotland. 


Miss June Chanler (Mrs. John J. Chap- 
man). R.A., 1894; C.H., 1899; 
G.C.A.G., 1924. 

Mrs. Richard Aldrich. 


Mrs. Hammersley. Inscr. "To Henry 
Tonks." 32IX20I. R.A., 1926 (393). 

Prof. Henry Tonks. 


Mrs. Hugh Hammersley (full-length). 
N.G., 1893; C.H., 1899; Pitt., 1923. 



William F. Hewer. 

W. F. Hewer. 


Mrs. Frederick Mead. 323X225. Inscr. 
"To Mrs. Abbey, from her Friend 
John S. Sargent, 1893." R.A., 1926 

Mrs. E. A. Abbey. 


Miss Elsie Wagg. 395X27I. Signed 

Miss Elsie Wagg. 

top and bottom. R.A., 1926 (36). 







Lancelot Allen (son of late Judge Wilfred 
Allen). Signed and dated. R.A., 1926 


Antonio Mancini. Rome, 1924. 

Miss Kate Allen. 


Nat. Gal., Modern Art, Rome. 


Portrait de M. H. H., N.S., Paris, 1894. 



Coventry Patmore (profile). 182X13. 
R.A., 1926 (442). 

Mrs. Francis Ormond. 


Coventry Patmore. 36X24. Signed and 

Museum of Occidental Art, 

dated. R.A., 1895; M.F.A., 1899. 



Portrait de Mme. H. H. N.S., 1894. 



Coventry Patmore. 36x24. Signed 
and dated. R.A., 1895 and 1926 (58). 

Nat. Portrait Gal. 


Miss Ada Rehan. 93X50. N.G., 1895; 
Daly's Theatre, N.Y., 1895; M.F.A., 
1 895-96; Penn., i896;C.H., 1899; Cor. 
Gal., 1914, 1915; Worcester, 1914; 
M.F.A., 1915, 1925; G.C.A.G., 1924. 

Mrs. George M. Whitin. 


A Countess. N.G., 1895; S., 1898. 



Mrs. Russell Cooke. 35X27. Signed. 
R.A., 1895, 1926 (398). 

S. Russell Cooke. 


Mrs. George Batten singing. Inscr. "To 
Mrs. Batten." N.G., 1897; N.S., 
1902; R.A., 1926. 

Miss Radclyffe-Hall. 


Mrs. Ernest Hills. R.A., 1895. 

Mrs. E. Hills. 


Richard Morris Hunt. 

Mrs. George W. Vanderbilt. 


Gardiner Greene Hammond, Jr. 28 X22. 
C.H., 1898, 1899; M.F.A., 1925. 

Mrs. G. G. Hammond, Jr. 


Coventry Patmore (sketch for a prophet) . 
Christies, 1925 (150). 



Coventry Patmore (head). 22IX15I. 

K. Matsukata, Kobe, Japan. 


Portrait. N.A.D. 

Jacob Wendell Coll. 


Portrait de Misses XXX. S., 1895. 



Mrs. Roller. 88X43*-. Signed. 

Major G. C. Roller. 


W. Graham Robertson. 89^X45. Signed 
and dated. R.A., 1895, 1926; N.S., 
1898 (417). 

W. Graham Robertson. 


Miss Helen Sears. C.H., 1894, ^99; 
M.F.A., 1925; M.M.A., 1926. 

Mrs. Montgomery Sears. 


The Countess Clary Aldrigen. N.G., 



Rt. Hon. Joseph Chamberlain. 63% X37. 
Signed and dated. 

Mrs. Carnegie. 


Miss Fairchild (sketch). M.F.A., 1896, 
1899, 1916. 

Charles F. Coll. 


Mrs. Colin Hunter. 36x24. Inscr. "To 
my Friend Colin Hunter, John S. 
Sargent, 1896." R.A., 1896, 1926 

Mrs. Colin Hunter. 







Mrs. Ian (now Lady) Hamilton. Signed. 

Gen. Sir Ian Hamilton, G.C.B., 

$ohX3Sh R.A., 1896, 1926 (328); 


C.H., 1899; Penn., 1905. 


Sir George Lewis, Bt. 31IX23I. 
Signed. R.A., 1896. 

Elizabeth, Lady Lewis. 


Hon. Laura Lister. R.A., 1897; C.H., 



Mrs. (now Lady) Carl Meyer and 
Children. 79I X$3h Signed and 
dated. R.A., 1897, l 9 2 & (33 1 )', C.H., 

Adele, Lady Meyer. 


Portrait of a Lady. R.A., 1896. 



Mrs. Montgomery Sears. 58X38. 
M.F.A., 1925; M.M.A., 1926 (34). 

Mrs. Montgomery Sears. 


The Hon. Mrs. George Swinton. N.G., 
1898; R.S.A., Edin., 1917; Chicago, 
1922; G.C.A.G., 1924; M.F.A., 1925; 
M.M.A., 1926. 

Art Inst, of Chicago. 


T. E. Vickers. Signed. 29X24. 

Douglas Vickers. 


Claude Monet. 16x13. N.G., 1888; 
C.H., 1899; M.F.A., 1925. 

Nat. Gal. of Design, N.Y. 


Henry G. Marquand. 51X40^. M.F.A., 
1925; M.M.A., 1926. 

Metropolitan Mus., N.Y. 


Mr. and Mrs. I. N. Phelps Stokes. N.Y., 
Pitt., Philadelphia, G.C.A.G., 1924; 
M.M.A., 1926. 

Mr. I. N. Phelps Stokes. 


Lord Watson. 90IX47. Painted for 

Faculty of Advocates, Edin- 

the members of the Legal Profession 


in Scotland. R.A., 1898, 1926 (359). 


Mrs. Harold C. Wilson. 59X37. R.A., 


Harold C. Wilson. 


Johannes Wolff. Inscr. "A mon ami 
Johannes Wolff, '97." R.A., 1898. 



Senator Calvin S. Brice. 58X38. Por- 
trait Ex. N.Y., 1898; C.H., 1899; 
Boston Art Club, 1909; M.F.A., 1925; 
M.M.A., 1926. 

Miss Helen 0. Brice. 


Mrs. J. W. Crombie. 39X29. Signed 
and dated. R.A., 1926 (415) 

Mrs. J. W. Crombie. 


Dr. C. D. (Carroll Dunham). N.Y., 
1898; C.H., 1899; Penn., 1899. 

Louis B. McCagg ( ?). 


Miss Jane Evans. 57 X3&h. Signed and 
dated. R.A., 1899, 1926 (339). 

Eton College. 


TheHon. Mrs. Ernest Franklin. 48 X^ih- 
Signed. N.G., 1898; R.A., 1926 

E. L. Franklin. 


Lady Faudel-Phillips. SlhX3l\. Signed 
and dated. R.A., 1899, I9 2 ^ (350). 

Sir Benjamin Faudel-Phillips. 







Mrs. Charles Hunter. 57X34^. Signed 
and dated. R.A., 1899, 1926 (303); 
C.H., 1899. 

Mrs. Charles Hunter. 


Jane, Lady Huntington. 92^X50. 
Signed. R.A., 1926 (392). 

Miss Amy Huntington. 


Sir Ian Hamilton, C.B., D.S.O. (head). 

Gen. Sir Ian Hamilton, G.C.B., 

Inscr. "To Mrs. Ian Hamilton." R.A., 


1926 (S3)- 


General Sir Ian Hamilton (standing). 

Gen. Sir Ian Hamilton, G.C.B., 

54X30. Signed. N.G., 1899; Venice, 


1907; R.A., 1926 (21). 


Portrait of a Lady. R.A., 1898. 



Mrs. Wilton Phipps. 35X25^. C.H., 
1899; R.A., 1926 (572). 

Mrs. Wilton Phipps. 


Francis Cranmer Penrose. 56^X37^. 

Royal Institute British Archi- 

Signed anddated.Pres.R.I.B.A. (1894- 


96); R.A., 1898, 1926 (45); C.H., 1899. 


The Countess of Suffolk and Berkshire. 

Countess of Suffolk and Berk- 

90X47. R.A., 1926 (271). 



Sir Thomas Sutherland, G.C.M.G., 
Chairman P. and O. S.N. Co. $6hX 
44i R.A., 1898, 1926 (285). 

P. and 0. Steam Nav. Co. 


Mrs. Anstruther Thomson. N.G., 1898. 



Miss M. Carey Thomas. Pres. Emeritus 
of Bryn Mawr College. 58X38. 
S., 1900; C.H., 1901; Cor. Gal., 1907; 
M.F.A., 1925; M.M.A., 1926. 

Bryn Mawr Coll. 


Mrs. Thursby. N.G., 1898. 



Miss Betty Wertheimer (Mrs. E. A. Sala- 
man). 48 X37. Oval. Signed. 



Miss Hylda Wertheimer (Mrs. H. Wilson 
Young). 84X56. 

Tate Gallery. 


Mrs. Asher Wertheimer (early, in white). 
62X40. R.A., 1898. 

H. Wilson-Young ( ?). 


Asher Wertheimer. 58X38. R.A., 1898; 
C.H., 1899; S., 1900. 

Tate Gallery. 


Mrs. Ralph Curtis. C.H., 1899. 



James C. Carter. 57X38. M.F.A., 
1925; M.M.A., 1926. 

Harvard Club, N.Y. 


The Hon. Joseph Hodges Choate. 58 X 
38. M.F.A., 1925; M.M.A., 1926. 

Harvard Club, N. Y. 


M. Leon Delafosse. N.S., 1902; C.H., 
1899; R.A., 1905. 



Miss Octavia Hill. 39^X30%. Signed. 
R.A., 1899. 

Nat. Port. Gal. 


Lord Russell of Killowen (Lord Chief 
Justice of England). 64IX431. R.A., 
1900, 1926 (284). 

The Hon. Mr. Justice Russell. 







Lady Victoria Stanley (now Lady Vic- 
toria Bullock). 77 £ X41I. Signed and 

The Earl of Derby, K.G. 


Henry Irving as Philip II. N.G. 



Lady in a Boat. 20X27. M.F.A., 1900. 

Mrs. Montgomery Sears. 


H. B. Brabazon. 22X15^. Christies, 
1925 (149). 

Miss M. S. Davies. 


Lady Elcho, Mrs. Tennant and Mrs. 
Adeane. 114X84. Signed. R.A., 
1900, 1926 (292); Franco-Brit., 1908; 
R.S.A., Edin., 191 1. 

Capt. G. R. C. Wyndham. 


Sir Charles S. Loch (Sec. Charity Or- 
ganizationSoc. ,1875-1914). 34! X25§. 
Signed and dated. R.A., 1901, 
1926 (325). 

Lady Loch. 


Sir David Richmond (Lord Provost of 
Glasgow). 951X52^. Signed. R.A., 
1900, 1926 (597). 

Corporation of Glasgow. 


Hon. Mrs. (now Lady) Charles Russell. 

Hon. Sir Charles Russell, Bt., 

4i§X29|. Signed and dated. R.A., 


1901, 1926 {$$). 


Lord Russell of Killowen (Lord Chief 

Hon. Sir Charles Russell, Bt., 

Justice of England). 33% X27I. 


Signed anddated. R.A., 1 900, 1 926 (1 2) . 


Earl of Dalhousie. R.A., 1900. 



H. B. Brabazon. 28X16^. Inscr. "To 

Charles Deering, Miami, 

Mrs. Brabazon, John S. Sargent." 


1 901. 

A Girl (Miss Edith French). 25 1 X2i|. 
R.A., 1926 (401). 

Miss J. H. Heyneman. 


Mrs. William Shakespeare. 29X24. 

W. Shakespeare. 


Sir Charles, Lady Ida Sitwell and Family. 
R.A., 1901. 



Rev. Dr. Baker (HeadmasterofMerchant 
Taylors School, 1870-1900). 37^X27. 
Signed and dated. R.A., 1926 (404). 

G. W. M. Baker. 


Ingram Bywater (Reg. Prof, of Greek in 
Univ. of Oxford). 58 X38. R.A., 1901. 

Nat. Gal., Millbank. 


Mrs. Cazalet and Children. 100X65. 
Signed. R.A., 1901, 1926 (395). 

W. M. Cazalet, J.P., D.L. 


John Ridgely Carter. 33% X26I. Signed 
and dated. R.A., 1926 (342). 

J. Ridgely Carter. 


Mrs. William C. Endicott. 64IX451. 
R.A., 1902; G.C.A.G., 1924; M.F.A., 
1925; M.M.A., 1926. 

William C. Endicott. 


The Duke of Portland, K.G. 89X43^. 
Signed. N.G., 1901; R.A., 1926 (355)- 

The Duke of Portland, K.G. 


Sir Charles Tennant, Bart. 34X27. 
Signed. R.A., 1901, 1926 (400). 

Mrs. Geoffrey Lubbock. 







Egerton L. Winthrop. 64X43- M.M.A, 
1926 (37). 

Egerton L. Winthrop, Jr. 


The Misses Wertheimer. 73 X5l|. N.S., 
1902; R.A., 1901. 

Nat. Gal., Millbank. 


Rose Marie and Reine Ormond. 

Mrs. F. Ormond. 


George McCulloch. 

George McCulloch. 


Miss Horner. 23§Xi5$. 



The Lady Evelyn Cavendish (now 
Duchess of Devonshire). 572X36. 
Signed and dated. R.A., 1903, 1926 

The Duke of Devonshire. 


Mrs. Goetz. N.G., 1902. 



Mrs. Arthur Knowles and her Two Sons. 

Arthur Knowles. 


Edward Partington, Lord Doverdale. 

Lord Doverdale. 


A Lady and her Two Sons. 

T. Agnew and Sons. 


W. M. Cazalet, J.P., D.L. 100X65. 
Signed and dated. R.A., 1926 (399)- 

W. M. Cazalet, J.P., D.L. 


John Fyfe, J.P., D.L. 57^X38. Signed 
and dated. R.A., 1926 (385). 

Corporation of Aberdeen. 


The Misses Hunter. 89^X89^. Signed 
and dated. R.A., 1902, 1926 (397); 
N.S., i903;St. Louis, l904;Paris, 1904; 
N.Y., 1904. 

Nat. Gal., Millbank. 


Mrs. Leopold Hirsch. 57X36!. Signed. 
R.A., 1902, 1926 (34). 

Leopold Hirsch. 


L. A. Harrison. 30X20!. Inscr. "To 
Pater Harrison, John S. Sargent." 
R.A., 1926 (381). 

L. A. Harrison. 


The Duchess of Portland. 89X43!. 
Signed and dated. R.A., 1902, 1926 

The Duke of Portland, K.G. 


G. F. McCorquodale. 57!X37!. Signed 
and dated. R.A., 1903, 1926 (330). 

Mrs. J. L. Wood. 


Lord Ribbesdale as Master of the Buck- 
hounds. 100X55. Signed and dated. 
R.A., 1902; Venice, 1907. 

Tate Gallery. 


Madge Roller. 23^X17!. Inscr. "To 
my Friend Nettie, John S. Sargent." 
R.A., 1926 (581). 

Mrs. Huxley Roller. 


Charles Stewart, 6th Marquess of Lon- 

Marquess of Londonderry, 

donderry, K.G., carrying the Great 


Sword of State at the Coronation of 

Edward VII., August, 1902, and Mr. 

M. C. Beaumont, his Page on this 

Occasion. 113X77. R. A., 1904, 1926 



Edward Wertheimer (unfinished). 64 X 

Tate Gallery. 







Ferdinand, Ruby, Essie Wertheimer, 
Younger Children of Asher Wertheim- 
er, with a Dog. 63X76. N.G., 1902. 

Tate Gallery. 


Ronald Vickers as a Boy. 20X15. 
Inscr. "To Mrs. Vickers." R.A., 1926 

Douglas Vickers. 


The 1st Earl of Cromer. 57^ X38. Signed 

Earl of Cromer, G.C.I.E., 

and dated. R.A., 1903, 1926 (341). 



Countess of Essex. 49X38 J. C.H., 
1917; M.F.A., 1925; R.A., 1907. 

M.F.A., Boston. 


Portrait de Deux Soeurs. N.S., 1902. 



Alfred Wertheimer. 64X45. R.A., 

Tate Gallery. 


Almina Wertheimer (Mrs. Fachiri). 

Tate Gallery. 


Lady Meysey Thompson. R.A., 1902. 



Conway, Almina and Hylda Wertheimer 
(Children of Asher Wertheimer). 
73^X52. N.G., 1902. 

Tate Gallery. 


The Ladies Alexandra, Mary and Theo 
Acheson. 106x78. Signed and dated. 
R.A., 1902, 1926 (573). 

The Duke of Devonshire. 


Mrs. Philip L. Agnew. 34IX28I. 
Signed and dated. R.A., 1903, 1926 

Philip L. Agnew. 


William Brownlee, D.L. (Provost of 
Dundee). 60X37^. Signed and dated. 
R.A., 1926 (569). 

Dundee Art Gal. 


William M. Chase. M.M.A., 1926. 

MM. A., New York. 


Mrs. Joseph Chamberlain (now Mrs. W. 
Hartley Carnegie). 45X32. R.A., 
1903; G.C.A.G., 1924; M.F.A, 1925. 

Mrs. W. C. Endicott. 


Francis and Conrad Ormond. 

Mrs. Francis Ormond. 


Miss Astor (now Mrs. Spender-Clay). 
98X50. R.A., 1926 (283). 

Lt.-Col. H. H. Spender-Clay. 


Mrs. Charles P. Curtis. 60X35. M.F.A., 
1903, 1925. 

Charles P. Curtis. 


Child's Portrait (Miss Kate Haven). 
26x20. Inscr. "To my Friend, Mrs. 
Bacon." M.F.A., I925;M.M.A., 1926. 

Mrs. J. Woodward Haven. 


Alexander J. Cassatt. 

Penn. Railroad. 


Mrs. William C. Endicott, Jr. 56X35. 
M.F.A. , 1903, 1925; Cor. Gal., 1908. 

W. C. Endicott, Jr. 


Mrs. Gardiner G. Hammond. 2S X35. 
M.F.A., 1903, 1925. 

Mrs. G. G. Hammond, Jr. 


Major Henry L. Higginson. 96 x6o. 
M.F.A.,i903;G.C.A.G.,i92 4 ;M.F.A., 
1925; M.M.A., 1926. 

Harvard Univ. 


27 1 





Hon. John Hay. 30X25. G.C.A.G., 

1924; M.F.A., 1925. 
Charles Martin Loerfler. M.F.A., 1903. 
Hon. William Caleb Loring. 56X40. 

M.F.A., 1903, 1925; M.M.A., 1926. 
Dr. S. Weir Mitchell. M.F.A., 1903. 
Countess Nunez de Castello. 
Col. W. Windle Pilkington, J.P., V.D., 

35aX34§. Signed and dated. Walker 

Art Gal., Liverpool. R.A., 1926 (577). 
Edward Robinson. S5 X3^- M.F.A., 

1903; G.C.A.G., 1924; M.F.A., 1925; 

M.M.A., 1926. 
James Whitcomb Riley. 36x29. Bos- 
ton, 1903; St. Louis, 1904; Cor. Gal., 

1908-09; M.F.A., 1925. 
Mrs. Arthur Lawrence Rotch. 56 X36. 

M.F.A., 1903, 1925. 
Millicent, Duchess of Sutherland. Chris- 
ties, 1925 (91). 
Mrs. Joseph E. Widener. Penn., 1903; 

M.F.A., 1903. 
Peter A. B. Widener. Penn., 1903; 

M.F.A., 1903. 
Mrs. J. William White. M.F.A., 1903; 

G.C.A.G., 1924. 
Mrs. Fiske Warren and Daughter. 59 X 

39. M.F.A, 1903; G.C.A.G., 1924; 

M.F.A., 1925; M.M.A., 1926. 
Mrs. Julius Wernher. 
T. L. Devitt (afterwards Sir Thomas), 

President of the Shipping Federation. 

57X37. Signed and dated. R.A., 

1904, 1926 (49). 
Miss Mary Elizabeth Garrett. 58X38. 

G.C.A.G., 1924; M.M.A., 1926. 
Sir Henry W. Lucy. 28^X21 £. Signed 

and dated. N.G., 1904; R.A., 1926. 

Countess of Lathom. 88x66. Signed 

and dated. R.A., 1904, 1926 (583). 
Duchess of Sutherland (Head and 

Shoulders). R.A., 1904; N.S., 1905. 
Sir Frank Swettenham, G.C.M.G., C.H. 

67^X42^. Signed and dated. N.G., 

1905; R.A., 1926 (322). 
Mrs. Hugh Smith. 41 X32. Signed and 

dated. N.G., 1904; R.A., 1926 (396). 


Clarence L. Hay. 

Mrs. John L. Gardner. 
W. C. Loring. 

Count Nunez de Castello. 
Corporation of St. Helens. 

Edward Robinson. 

Art Assoc, of Indianapolis. 

Mrs. Henry Parkman, Jr. 

Mrs. White. 
Fiske Warren. 

Sir T. G. Devitt, Bart. 

Johns Hopkins Univ. 
Lady Lucy. 

The Earl of Lathom. 

Scott and Fowles. 

Sir Frank Swettenham. 

Vivian Hugh Smith. 







Mrs. John C. Tomlinson, N.Y., 1904. 


Miss Tomlinson. 



General Leonard Wood. R.A., 1904; 
G.C.A.G., 1924. 

General Leonard Wood. 


Mrs. Asher Wertheimer. 64X42. R.A., 
1904; Franco-Brit., 1908. 

Nat. Gal., Millbank. 


Mrs. Wedgwood. 54X27^ N.E.A.C., 

Miss E. Wedgwood. 


Mrs. Garrett Anderson, M.D. 33X26. 
Signed. N.G., 1901; R.A., 1926 (419). 

Sir Alan Anderson. 


Sefior Manuel Garica. 54X38. Cente- 
nary Portrait. R.A., 1905; M.F.A., 

Rhode Island School of Design. 


Mrs. Adolph Hirsch. N.G., 1905; Nat. 
Port. Soc, 1913. 



Napier C. Hemy, R.A. 26^X20. Inscr. 
"To my Friend Napier Hemy." N.G., 
1906; R.A., 1926 (347). 

Mrs. Napier Hemy. 


J. Seymour Lucas, R.A. Sketch 26 X21. 
Inscr. "To my Friend Seymour 
Lucas, 1905." N.G., 1906; R.A., 1926 

Mrs. Grubbe. 


The Marlborough Family. R.A., 1905. 

Duchess of Marlborough. 


Mrs. Robert Mathias (Miss Ena Werthei- 
mer), (A Vele Gonfie). R.A., 1905; 
Grafton (Fair Women), 19 10. 

Mr. Charles Deering. 


Joseph Pulitzer. 38x28. G.C.A.G., 
1924; M.M.A., 1926 (47); N.Y., 1908; 
Penn., 1910. 

Mrs. Joseph Pulitzer. 


Gen. Charles J. Paine. 34X28. M.F.A., 
1922, 1925; M.M.A., 1926 (49). 

John B. Paine. 


Padre Sebastiano. 22x28. N.E.A.C, 
1906; M.M.A., 1926 (48). 

Metropolitan Museum, N.Y. 


Mrs. E. G. Raphael. 63 X44. Signed 
and dated. N.G., 1905; R.A., 1926 

E. G. Raphael, Esq. 


Theodore Roosevelt. 58 X40. M.F.A., 

The White House. 


Madame la Duchesse de S. N.S., 1905. 



The Lady Helen Vincent (Viscountess 
D'Abernon). 63 X 42 §. R.A., 1905, 
1926 (38). 

Viscount D'Abernon. 


Countess of Warwick and Son. 103 X 63 . 
R.A., 1905; M.F.A., 1925. 

Worcester Art Museum. 


Maud, Daughter of George Coates. 
R.A., 1906. 

— ~ 


Mrs. Frederick Guest. R.A.. 1906; 
G.C.A.G., 1924. 

Mrs. Phipps (?). 


2 73 





Mrs. Harold Harmsworth (now Viscoun- 
tess Rothermere). Signed and dated. 
N.G., 1906; R.A., 1926(348). 

Sir Hugh Lane. 29^X24^. Walker Gal- 
lery, Liverpool, 1913. 

Miss Lewis (Lady Elizabeth). 34X28. 
Signed and dated. N.G., 1908; R.A., 
1926 (414). 

Mrs. George Mosenthal. 35 § X 28 £. 
R.A., 1926 (354). 

Rev. Endicott Peabody. 38X58. Penn., 
1907; M.F.A., 1925. 

Lady Weetman Pearson (now the Vis- 
countess Cowdray). 63X39. Signed 
and dated. R.A., 1926 (317). 

Mrs. William Raphael. 56X41. Signed 
and dated. R.A., 1926. 

Field-Marshal Earl Roberts, K.G., V.C. 
64X41. Signed and dated. R.A., 
1906 and 1926 (42). 

Two Young Children. 21^X27. "To 
Violet Ormond, Xmas, 1906." 

Mrs. Edgar Speyer. 58X36. R.A., 
1907; M.F.A., 1925. 

Sir Edgar Vincent, K.C.M.G. (now 
Viscount D'Abernon). 37X27 J. R.A., 
1926 (394). 

Drs. Welch, Osier, Halsted, Kelly (The 
Four Doctors). R.A., 1906; Pitt., 
1907; Cor. Gal., 1907. 

Rev. EdmondWarre, C.B., C.V.O., D.D., 
sometime Headmaster of Eton. 93 \ X 
57^. Signed and dated. N.G., 1907; 
R.A., 1926 (562). 

Boy and Girl in an Orange Grove. 55 X 22. 

Mrs. Edward D. Brandegee. 60X30. 
G.C.A.G., 1924; M.F.A., 1925. 

Miss Helen Brice. 58X34. N.Y., 1908; 
R.A., 1908; M.F.A., 1914, 1925. 

Rt. Hon. Arthur Cohen, K.C. 29I X25. 
N.G., 1908; R.A., 1926 (62). 

Lady Eden. 43 X34i R.A., 1907. 

William C. Endicott, Jr. 56x14. Cor. 
Gal., 1908; M.F.A., 1925. 

Charles W. Eliot. 100x63. G.C.A.G., 
1924; M.F.A., 1925. 

Augustus A. Healey. 28§X32|. Cor. 
Gal., 1910-11. 


Viscount Rothermere. 

Municipal Gallery of Modern 

Art, Dublin. 
Lady Elizabeth Lewis. 

Mrs. George Mosenthal. 
Mrs. Endicott Peabody. 
Viscountess Cowdray. 

Mrs. Henry Tufton. 
Countess Roberts. 

Mrs. Ormond. 

Edgar Speyer. 

Viscount D'Abernon, G.C.B., 

Johns Hopkins Univ. 
Eton College. 

Edward D. Brandegee. 

Miss Helen Brice. 

Miss Cohen. 

Penn. Museum ( ?). 

Mrs. William C. Endicott, Jr. 

Harvard Union. 

Brooklyn Museum. 








Mrs. Huth Jackson. 58 X39. Signed and 

dated. R.A., 1908, 1926 (52). 
The Hon. Mrs. A. L. Langman. 59 X39h 

R.A., 1907 and 1926 (319). 
Sir Weetman Pearson, Bt. (now Viscount 

Cowdray). 63 X39. Signed and dated. 

R.A., 1926 (299). 
John Singer Sargent (Self). 
Lady Sassoon. 63% X4i£. Signed and 

dated. R.A., 1907 and 1926 (274). 
John S. Sargent (Self). 
William Thorne (Sketch). Cor. Gal., 

1907; Pitt., 1907, 
Miss Izme Vickers. 57^X37!. Signed 

and dated. N.G., 1908; R. A., 1926 (6). 
Mrs. Astor(now Viscountess Astor,M.P.). 

59X39. Signed and dated. R.A., 

1909 and 1926 (308). 
The Rt. Hon. A. J. Balfour, M.P. (now 

the Earl of Balfour, K.G., O.M.). 

101 X58. Signed and dated. R.A., 

1908, 1926 (311). 
Edward D. Boit. 35X24. R.A., 1926 

Cora, Countess of Strafford. 62X44!. 

Signed and dated. R.A., 1926 (380). 
H.R.H. The Duke of Connaught. 63 X 

42!. Signed and dated. R.A., 1908. 

1926 (291); R.S.A., 1909. 
H.R.H. The Duchess of Connaught. 

63 X42!. Signed and dated. R.A., 

1908 and 1926 (293); R.S.A., 1909. 
The Countess of Gosford (Miss Mildred 

Carter). 391X29!. R.A., 1926 (592). 
MissSargentSketching. R.A., 1926 (144). 
Miss Matilde Townshend. Cor. Gal., 

1908; Penn., 1909. 
Madame Judith Gautier. 
The Marchioness of Londonderry. 

372X27!. Signed and dated. R.A., 

1926 (574). 
Alec McCulloch. 27X22. Sketch Por- 
trait of a Young Salmon Fisher. 

Painted in Norway. 
Mrs. Joseph Pulitzer. 58X38. Cor. 

Gal., 1912-13; M.F.A., 1925. 
The Earl ofWemyss and March. 63 X45!. 

R. A., 1 909 and 1 926 (3 1 4) ; Rome, 1 9 1 1 . 


Mrs. Huth Jackson. 

A. L. Langman, Esq., C.M.G. 

Viscount Cowdray. 

Uffizi Gallery, Florence. 
Sir Philip Sassoon. 

Kepplestone Coll. 
William Thorne. 

Miss Izme Vickers. 

Viscount Astor. 

Carlton Club. 

Misses Boit. 

Cora, Countess of Strafford. 

H.R.H. The Duke of Con- 

H.R.H. The Duke of Con- 

John Ridgeley Carter, Esq. 

Mrs. Francis Ormond. 

Mrs. Mary Scott Townshend. 

Madame J. Gautier. 
Marquess of Londonderry. 

A. McCulloch. 

Mrs. Pulitzer. 

The Earl of Wemyss and 


2 75 





His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury 

His Grace the Archbishop of 

(the Rev. Randall Thomas Davidson). 


5i£X4i£. Signed and dated. R.A., 

191 1, 1926 (270). 


Marchese Farinota. Inscr. "To Gonerli 
Farinota, Friendly Souvenir of J. S. 

Marchese Farinota. 


Lord Milner. Twenty Years of British 
Art. Whitechapel Galleries. 



Les Enfants Pailleron. Chateau Baga- 
telle, Paris. 

Madame Pailleron. 


Dr. J. William White. Penn. 

University of Pennsylvania. 


Mrs. Arthur Hunnewell. 35X27. 
Cor. Gal., 1912-13; C.H. 1914; 
M.F.A., 1925. 

Mrs. Arthur Hunnewell. 


Madame Michel (Nonchaloire). 26X31. 
M.M.A., 1926 (53). 

Mrs. Charles E. Greenough. 


Two Girls in White Dresses. 27^ X 
21$. Signed. R.A., 1926 (88). 

Sir Philip Sassoon. 


Rose Marie. 31 1 X23. Signed and dated. 
R. A., 1 9 13 and 1 926 (2) ; San Francisco, 
1915; M.F.A., 1916; Cor. Gal., 

Mrs. Francis Ormond. 


Henry James, O.M. 33^X26^. Signed 
and dated. R.A., 1914 and 1926 
(23); San Francisco, 191 5; M.F.A., 

Nat. Port. Gal., London. 


Robert Mathias. 39^X29^. Nat. Port. 
Soc, 1913; R.A., 1926 (506). 

Robert Mathias, Esq. 


The Countess of Rocksavage (now Mar- 
chioness of Cholmondeley). 34 X26^. 
Inscr. "To Sybil, from her Friend 
John Sargent." N.E.A.C., 1914; R.A., 
1914, 1926 (46). 

Marchioness of Cholmondeley. 


Mrs. Frederick Barnard. Anglo-Ameri- 
can, London, 1914; R.A., 1926 (41). 

The Misses Barnard. 


The Earl Curzon of Kedleston, G.C.S.I., 
G.C.I.E., F.R.S., President of the 
Royal Geographical Society, 1911-14. 
R.A., 1915 and 1926 (29). 

Royal Geographical Society. 


Carl Maldoner (Bust). 

C. Maldoner. 


Pratt (Portrait Sketch) . Worcester, 1 9 1 4. 



Two Girls in White Dresses (Eastman ?). 

George Eastman, Rochester, 

Cor. Gal., 1914. 



Douglas Vickers. 29^X24!. Signed and 
dated. R.A., 1926 (407). 

Douglas Vickers. 


Miss Elizabeth Williamson. R.A., 1926 

Mrs. Charles Hunter. 







Francis Jenkinson, M.A. Sometime 
Librarian in the University of Cam- 
bridge. 35^X271. Signed and dated. 
R.A., 1915 and 1926 (344). 



Gen. William Birdwood. Signed and 



Carl, Sketch of Guide, Rocky Mountains. 



Mrs. William Hartley Carnegie (for- 
merly Mrs. Joseph Chamberlain). 
Boston, 1916; G.C.A.G., 1924. 

Mrs. William C. Endicott. 


Portrait of P. A. J. when a Child. Cor. 
Gal., 1916. 

Augustus Jay. 


Portrait of a Lady. Cor. Gal., 191 6. 

J. P. Morgan. 


George W. Vanderbilt. Cor. Gal., 1916; 
Penn., 1917. 

S. T. Biltmore, N.C. 


George R. Fearing. C.H., 1917. 

Mrs. George R. Fearing, Jr. 


Daniel Nolan. 26x20. C.H., 1917; 
Worcester, 1918; M.F.A., 1919; Cor. 
Gal., 1923. 


President of the United States (Woodrow 
Wilson). Cor. Gal., N.Y., Penn., 
M.F.A., Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, 
1918; R.A., 1919. 

Nat. Gal. of Dublin. 


John D. Rockefeller. 58 X46. M.F.A., 


John D. Rockefeller. 


M.F.A., Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo, 
Cleveland, 191 8; Cor. Gal., 191 9. 

John D. Rockefeller. 


The Viscountess Acheson (Miss Carter). 
G.G., 1918. 

J. R. Carter Coll. 


Mrs.PercivalDuxburyandDaughter. 56I 
X37I. Signed and dated. Red Cross 
Portrait. R.A., 1919 and 1926 (568). 

Mrs. Percival Duxbury. 


Mrs. Allhusen. Nat. Port. Soc, 191 9. 



Lt.-Gen. Sir G. H. Fowke, K.C.B., 

Lt.-Gen. Sir H. G. Fowke, 

K.C.M.G., Adjutant-General in 

K.C.B., K.C.M.G. 

France, 1916-19. 561x32. Signed 

and dated. R.A., 1921 and 1926 (389). 


Some General Officers of the Great War. 
R.A., 1922. 

Nat. Port. Gal. 


Studies for "Some General Officers of 
the Great War": 



Field-Marshal Viscount Allenby. Chris- 
ties, 1925 (153). 



Field-Marshal Viscount Allenby. 

Leicester Art Gal. 


Field-Marshal Viscount Allenby. Chris- 
ties, 1925 (152). 



General Lord Byng of Vimy. 22X15^. 

Nat. Gal. of Canada, Ottawa. 







General the Earl of Cavan. Christies, 

1925 (154). 



General Sir. J. S. Cowans. Christies, 
1925 (153). 



Field-Marshal EarlHaig. Christies, 1925 




GeneralLordHorne. Christies, 1925 (157). 



General Sir G. F. Milne. Christies, 1925 



General Lord Rawlinson. Christies, 1925 



Field-Marshal Sir William Robertson. 
Christies, 1925 (160). 



General Smuts. Christies, 1925 (161). 



Field-Marshal Sir H. H. Wilson. R.A., 
1926 (590). 

Alec Martin. 


Field-Marshal Sir H. H. Wilson. 22X16. 
Christies, 1925. 

~~ • 


Field-Marshal the Earl of Ypres. Chris- 
ties, 1925 (163). 



Holker Abbott. 28x22. St. Bot. C, 
1922; M.F.A., 1925. 

Tavern Club, Boston. 


Head of a Boy. M.F.A., 1925. 

Mrs. Sullivan A. Sargent, Jr. 


Boy in a Chair. M.F.A., 1925. 

Miss Sally Fairchild. 


The Countess of Rocksavage (now the 

Sir Philip Sassoon. 


Marchioness of Cholmondeley). 63% X 
3Sh R.A., 1922, 1926 (343). 


Miss Anstruther Thomson. 26x32. 



Charles H. Woodbury. 28X16. Cor. 
Gal., 1921; M.F.A., 1925. 

C. H. Woodbury. 


The Artist Sketching. 22X27. M.F.A., 

Mrs. R. T. Crane, Jr. 


Sir Edward H. Busk, M.A., LL.B. Some- 
time Chairman of Convocation, Uni- 
versity of London. 35^X27^. Signed 
and dated. R.A., 1923 and 1926 (4). 

Sir Edward H. Busk. 


Madame Paul Escudier. 23 X28£. Signed 
and inscr. "To Madame Escudier." 
Pitt., 1923. 

Charles Deering. 


A. Lawrence Lowell. President of Har- 
vard University. G.C.A.G., 1924; 
M.F.A., 1925. 

Harvard University. 


Sir Philip Sassoon, Bt., M.P. 37X22. 

Sir Philip Sassoon, Bt., G.B.E., 

Signed and dated. R.A., 1924 and 


1926; Liverpool, 1924. 


The Marchioness of Curzon. R.A., 1925. 



George A. MacMillan. R.A., 1925. 

Dilettanti Club, London. 


Young Girl. M.F.A., 1925. 

Mrs. Charles White. 






Mrs. Charles B. Alexander. 


Lady Beresford. 28X23. Inscr. "To Lady 

Municipal Gal., Dublin. 

Charles Beresford, John S. Sargent." R.A., 

1926 (371). 

Lady Brooke. R.A., 1926 (428). 

H. W. Henderson. 

John Cadwallader. 


Miss Beatrix Chapman. 

Mrs. H. G. Chapman, N.Y. 

Contessa Chiercati. 

Ehrich Galleries. 

Miss Charlotte Cram. 

R. L. Fowler, Jr. 

Miss Etta Daub (Marchesa di Viti). 


Miss Grace Daub (Mrs. Theodore Luling). 

Mrs. Theodore Luling. 

Miss Helen Daub (Mrs. Thomas Spicer). 

Mrs. Thomas Spicer. 

Miss Katy Daub (Mrs. John Bennet). 

Mrs. John Bennet. 

Mrs. Edward Dodd. 



G. M. Williamson. 

Eleanora Duse. 23X19. Christies, 1925 (137). 

Scott and Fowles. 

Mrs. F. 

Charles Fairchild ( ?). 

Louis Fagan. 

Arts Club, London. 

Rt. Hon. Robert Farquharson, M.P. 24X20!. 

Joseph Farquharson, R.A. 

Francois Flameng. 


William J. Florence. 


M. de Fourcoult. 

Luxembourg Mus. 

Mrs. Peter Gerry. 

Mrs. Richard Townsend. 

Frau Marie von Grunelius. 38X27. 


Lady Millicent Hawes. 

Pennsylvania Mus. 

Head of a Child. 18X15. R.A., 1926 (578). 

Miss Sargent. 

Head of a Girl. 

Joseph Farquharson, R.A. 

Head of a Young Man. 175X9!. R.A., 1926 

C. J. Conway. 


Dr. Joseph Joachim. 


Lady behind a Candlestick. 

Scott and Fowles. 

Mile. E. S. (Miss Sargent), S., 1916. 


Mme. et Mile, de B. 


Mme. XXX. 


Mme. Y. 


Mrs. Richard Mortimer. 

Mrs. R. Mortimer. 

Frederic Law Olmstead. 

Mrs. G. W. Vanderbilt. 

Mrs. Francis Ormond. 

Mrs. John L. Gardner. 

Portrait. 57^X38. R.A., 1926 (326). 

Mrs. Louis Raphael. 

Portrait of a Dutchman. 23§Xi7§. R.A., 

Hugh Blaker. 

1926 (599). 

Portrait of a Girl. 

Mrs. Julia Francs ( ?). 

Portrait of a Lady. 

W. B. Paterson (?). 

Portrait of a Girl. 

Mrs. Julia Isaacs. 





Mrs. Pym. 

Mrs. Pym. 

Mrs. Whitelaw Reid. 


Mrs. Arthur Ricketts. 48X37 (Oval). R.A., 

Mrs. Arthur Ricketts. 

1926 (61). 

Mme. Belle Roche. ii\Xilh Christies, 1925 



Auguste Rodin. 

Luxembourg Mus. 

Theodore Roosevelt. 

James Parmelee. 

Mrs. Mahlon Sands. 50X35*. R.A., 1926 

M. H. Sands. 


Capt. John E. P. Spicer. 62X38*. R.A., 1926 

Capt. J. E. P. Spicer. 


Lady Margaret Spicer. 105x59. Signed. 

Capt. J. E. P. Spicer. 

R.A., 1926 (300). 

Countess Szecheyni. 


Mrs. George W. Vanderbilt. 

G. W. Vanderbilt. 

H. Galbraith Ward. 


G. M. Williamson. 


Mrs. W. L. Wyllie. 29X24*. R.A., 1926 

W. L. Wyllie, R.A. 









A Staircase. 2i|Xi8. Christies, 1925 



Staircase, Study of a. i8|X32|. 
M.F.A., 1925. 

Dr. George W T oodward. 


Head of a Woman. 15! Xi2f. Study 
made in the Carolus Duran atelier. 



Wine Glasses. 18X14^. Signed and 

Sir Philip Sassoon, Bt., G.B.E., 

dated. R.A., 1926 (372). 



Octopus. 12IX16. Signed and dated. 

Frederick S. Sherman, N.Y. 


Gitana. 28X24. Signed. N.Y., 1898; 

Metropolitan Museum of New 

Penn., 1899. 



Nice, a Landscape View near. 23 \ X 28 §. 
Christies, 1925 (103). 



Orchard in Blossom near Nice. 23 X29. 
Christies, 1925 (216). 



Rehearsal of the Pas de Loup Orchestra. 
2i|xi8|. M.F.A., 1925; M.M.A., 

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 


Cancale Harbour, Low Tide. 18X12. 
M.F.A., 1925. 

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 


Mussel Gatherers. G.C.A.G., 1924. 

Mrs. Carroll Beckwith. 


A Summer Idyll. I2|Xi6. Signed and 
inscr. "To my Friend Walton." 
N.E.A.C, 191 1. 

Brooklyn Museum. 


Capri. 30X32. M.F.A., 1925. 

Mr. and Mrs. Francis Neilson. 


Head of Neapolitan Boy wearing a Red 
Cap. 18^X13!. Christies, 1925 (208). 



Luxembourg Gardens at Twilight. 68 X 
36. Inscr. "To Charles F. McKim." 
M.F.A., 1925; M.M.A., 1926. 

Minneapolis Institute of Arts. 


Luxembourg Gardens. Signed and 

John G. Johnson. 


A Neapolitan Boy. 18^X14. Christies, 
1925 (205). 



Head of Neapolitan Boy wearing a Red 
Cap. 18X13. M.F.A., 1925. 

Alvan T. Fuller. 


Neapolitan Children Bathing. 



Dans les Olives a Capri. C.H., 1917. 



The Administrators of the Old Men's 
Hospital at Haarlem. After Franz 
Hals. 30X41. Christies, 1925 (227). 







Head of ^Esop. After Velasquez. 18 X 
14 J. Christies, 1925 (234). 



Study for Ambergris. 31^X21. R.A., 
1926 (558). 

Miss Sargent. 


Portrait of a Buffoon of Philip IV. After 
Velasquez. 20X16}. Christies, 1925 


Head of Capri Girl. 

American Art Assoc. 


Les Chenes. 

Mrs. Grace Ellison. 


Court of Lions, Alhambra. 184X31. 
C.H., 1899; Christies, 1925 (97). 

Scott and Fowles. 


Dwarf. After Velasquez. 551X415. 
Christies, 1925 (229). 



Fumee d'Ambre Gris. 54X262. S., 



Las Hilanderas. After Velasquez. 23 X 
28. Christies, 1925 (230). 



Infanta Margareta. After Velasquez. 
132X91- Christies, 1925 (235). 

~~ • 


Landscape. Signed and dated. 



Las Mefiinas. Copy of Velasquez. 
43lX38i R.A., 1926 (364). 

Miss Sargent. 


Martinez Montanes. After Velasquez. 

Francis H. Clarke. 


Mid Winter, Mid Ocean. I2*Xi6£. 
M.F.A., 1925. 

Mrs. Frederick Eldridge. 


Normandy Coast Fisher Folk. 9I X 1 2*. 
M.F.A., 1925. 

Mrs. J. E. Jenkins. 


Oyster Gatherers of Cancale (En Route 
pour la Peche). 30X48. M.F.A., 

Cor. Gal., Washington. 


Oyster Gatherers. i6X22|. Signed 
and inscr. "To my Friend Beckwith." 

Miss Mary Appleton. 


The Parisian Beggar Girl. 25X17. 
M.F.A., 1925; M.M.A., 1926. 

Paul Schulze. 


A. Pieta. After El Greco. 31X19. 

Sir Philip Sassoon, Bt., G.B.E., 

R.A., 1926 (561); Christies, 1925 (219). 



Prince Balthazar Carlos. 17^X14. 
Christies, 1925 (233). 



Prince Balthazar Carlos. After Velas- 
quez. ii\ X 171. Christies, 1925, 


Saint holding a Book (Sketch Copy). 



The Standard Bearer out of the Pictures 
of the Officers of St. Joris Doelen in 
Haarlem. After Franz Hals. 25X23. 
Christies, 1925 (228). 









N.Y., 1! 


A Spanish Beggar Girl. 
Spanish Gypsy. 1 8 \ X 1 

Penn., i899;C.H., i899;M.F.A., 1925; 

M.M.A., 1926. 
Spanish Courtyard. 27X31. N.Y., 


1925; M.M.A., 1926. 
A Study from the Three Graces by 

Rubens at Madrid. 18X12. Chris- 
ties, 1925 (220). 
Two Figures of the Administration of 

the Old Men's Hospital in Haarlem. 

After Franz Hals. 50X22. Christies, 

1925 (225). 

Two Heads out of the Repast of the" 
Officers of St. Joris Doelen in Haarlem. 
After Franz Hals. 22^X25. Chris- 
ties, 1925 (226). 

El Jaleo. S., 1882. 

Eljaleo. 3lfX*3i- 
El Jaleo. 32X25I. 
Venetian Glass Blowers. 22X32!. 

M.F.A., 1925. 
Almond Blossom, Nice. 22X28. R.A., 

1926 (297). 

A Capri Girl. 9X10. R.A., 1926 (218). 
Street in Venice (Canal). 24X18. 
The Sulphur Match. 23X16!. 

G.C.A.G., 1924; M.F.A., 1925; 

M.M.A., 1926. 
Venetian Water Carriers. 25IX27. 

M.F.A., 1925; M.M.A., 1926. 
A Venetian Street (La Scala di San 

Rocca). 25IX26. 
Venice. 20X27!. Inscr. "A mon Ami 

Flameng." R.A., 1926 (37). 
Orange Trees. 25X18. R.A., 1926 (39). 
Sortie d'Eglise en Espagne. S^^3S- 

Spanish Dance. 33hX3Sh 
Spanish Dancer. Study for Spanish 

A Dinner Table at Night. 20 X27. Signed. 
The Toast (Portrait de Madame G.). 

32X41. Signed. Fenway Court. 
Sketch for Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose. 

23£XI9*. R-A., 1926 (584). 


Paul Schulze. 
Louis B. McCagg. 

Louis B. McCagg. 

Isabella Stewart Gardner 

Martin A. Ryerson. 

Miss Sargent. 

Miss Sargent. 
Mrs. Curtis. 
Mrs. Louis Curtis. 

Worcester Art Museum. 

Russell Cooke. 

Sir Philip Sassoon, Bt., G.B.E., 

Mrs. Ormond. 

Hispanic Society, N.Y. 
Mrs. Curtis. 

V. C. Vickers. 

Mrs. John L. Gardner. 

Clement Parsons, Esq. 







Sketch for Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose. 

28X18. R.A., 1926 (418). 
Sketch for Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose. 

28X18. R.A., 1926 (416). 
Sketch for Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose. 

I9*XI5*. R-A., 1926 (376). 
Sketch for Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose. 

C.H., 1899. 
Sketch for Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose. 

5334X35*. R-A., 19-6(580). 
The01dChair.26iX2iiR.A., 1926(287). 
The Home Fields. 28^X38. Inscr. 

"To my Friend Bromley." 
Whitby Fishing Boats. 18^X26. Inscr. 

"To my Friend Mrs. Vickers." R.A., 

Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose. 67IX59. 

(Chantrey Bequest Purchase.) R.A., 

1887 and 1926 (47). 
At Broadway, 1886. 175X23!. R.A., 

1926 (576). 
A Girl with a Sickle. 231X15!. Inscr. 

"To Lily Millet from her Old Friend 

John S. Sargent." R.A., 1926 (579). 
House and Garden (F. D. Millet's). 

27x35- R-A., 1926 (557). 
Street in Venice. 17^X21. G.C.A.G., 

1924; M.F.A., 1925; M.M.A., 1926. 
Venetian Interior. 26IX34. G.C.A.G., 

1924; M.F.A., 1925. 
Venetian Bead Stringers. 26X30. 

G.C.A.G., 1924; M.F.A., 1925. 
Calcot Mill near Reading. A Boating 

Party. 33X3S- Christies, 1925 (82). 
Backwater, A. Calcot Mill near Reading. 

20X27. Christies, 1925 (132). 
Backwater at Calcot near Reading. 

24^X29!. Christies. 1925 (198); 

R.A., 1926 (566). 
Fishing. R.A., 1926 (96). 
A Morning Walk. N.E.A.C, 1889. 
Sketch for Spanish Dancers. Night. 

19X13L R-A., 1926 (384). 
St. Martin's Summer. N.E.A.C, 1899; 

St. Bot. C, 1890; C.H., 1899. 
St. Martin's Summer, Fladbury Rectory. 

35X27!. N.E.A.C, 1899; St. Bot. C, 

1890; C.H., 1899. 


Mrs. F. D. Millet. 
Mrs. F. D. Millet. 
Mrs. Francis Ormond. 

V. C Vickers. 

Hugo Pitman, Esq. 
Detroit Institute of Arts. 

V. C Vickers. 

Tate Gallery. 

Mrs. F. D. Millet. 
Mrs. F. D. Millet. 

Mrs. F. D. Millet. 

Mrs. Stanford W'hite. 

Carnegie Institute of Fine 

Buffalo Fine Arts Academy. 

E. A. Milch. 

E. A. Milch. 

C. J. Conway. 

Mrs. Hugo Pitman. 

Miss Sargent. 










Under the Willows. 26x21. 

Javanese Dancer. 30^X12^. Christies, 

1925 (80); Paris, 1899. 

Javanese Girl at her Toilet. 25^X21. 

Christies, 1925 (118). 
Javanese Dancing Girl. 68X31^. R.A., 

1926 (54). 

Javanese Dancing Girl. 685X30. R.A., 

1926 (59). 
LamplightStudy. C.H.,i899;N.E.A.C, 

Lamplight Study of a Lady Singing. 

C.H., 1899. 
Lamplight Portrait. 18X12. Inscr. 

"To Miss Priestley." R.A., 1926(410). 
The Artist's Sister aboard Ship, iof X7§. 

M.F.A., 1924. 
The Brittany Boatman. M.F.A., 1925. 
The Cook's Boy. io\Xlh M.F.A., 

Head of a Dancing Girl. Signed. 25 X 

19. R.A., 1926 (353). 
Egyptian Dancing Girl. 
EgyptianGirl.G.C.A.G.,i92 4 ;N.E.A.C, 

Egyptian Indigo Dyers. C.H., 1899. 
Studies of Egyptian Sculpture. 24X29. 

Christies, 1925 (180). 
Ightham Mote. 90X56. N.G., 1890. 
A Mosque, Cairo. 17^X26. R.A., 1926 

(302); Christies, 1925 (143)- 
Interior of Santa Sophia. 31X24^. 

Christies, 1925 (93); R-A., 1926 (329). 
A Jersey Calf. 29 X 25. Inscr. " To Mrs. 

Mead, with a Merry Xmas." R.A., 

1926 (567). 
Lunette and Portion of Ceiling. Part 

of Mural Decoration of the Public 

Library of Boston. R.A., 1894. 
Sunset: Cairo. 24^X29. Christies, 1925 

A Study from a Ceiling Decoration at 

Ravenna. 14^X18^. Christies, 1925 

Sketch at Corfu. C.H., 1899. 
Sketch of Erectheum. C.H., 1899. 
A Fellah Woman (Sketch). C.H., 1899. 


J. C. Shepherd. 
Alvan T. Fuller. 

Miss Sargent. 

Mrs. Francis Ormond. 

Miss Sargent. 

Mrs. Frederick Eldridge. 

Mrs. Frederick Eldridge. 
Mrs. Frederick Eldridge. 

Sir Philip Sassoon, Bt., G.B.E., 

Sir Philip Sassoon. 
Charles Deering. 


Sir Philip Sassoon, Bt.. G.B.E., 

C. J. Conway. 

Mrs. E. A. Abbey. 









Five Female Saints and the Virgin in 
Prayer. From the Decorations at 
Ravenna. Christies, 1925 (223). 



An Hotel Room. 24X17}. R.A., 1926 

Mrs. Francis Ormond. 


A Ravenna Mosaic. 18^X21}. R.A., 

Sir Philip Sassoon, Bt., G.B.E., 

1926 (462). 


A Ravenna Mosaic. 18X132. R.A., 

Sir Philip Sassoon, Bt., G.B.E., 

1926 (440). 



Sketch of Neapolitan Boy. C.H., 1899. 



St. Mark's, Venice. The Pavement. 
21 X28 *. C.H., 1 899; R.A., 1 926 (570). 

Miss Sargent. 


Virgin and Child and a Saint holding a 
Book. From the Decorations at Ra- 
venna. 26X18. Christies, 1925 (224). 



The Virgin and Head of Christ. From 
the Decorations at Ravenna. 26 X 17I. 
Christies, 1925 (221). 


Wargrave Backwater. 291x24^. R.A., 
1926 (594). 

Clement Parsons. 


Water Carriers on the Nile. 21X25. 
Christies, 1925 (131). 



Astarte. Sketch for Boston Library Dec- 
oration. Fenway Court, C.H., 1899. 

Mrs. J. L. Gardner. 


Sketch of Neapolitan Boy. C.H., 1899. 



Candle Light Study (The Glassof Claret). 
C.H., 1899. 



Temple of Denderah. C.H., 1899. 



Design for Mural Decoration. R.A., 



Gondolas off the Doge's Palace, Venice. 
Christies, 1925 (142). 



Interior of Italian Palace. Christies, 

J. Lousada. 


Interior in Venice. 25X31. (R.A. 
Diploma Work). Signed and dated. 
R.A., 1900 and 1926 (14). 

Royal Academy. 


Astarte. Design for Boston Library. 
R.A., 1926 (126). 

Mrs. Francis Ormond. 


Lady and Boy asleep in a Punt under a 
Willow. 22X27. Signed. 



Lady in a Boat. 20X27. Signed. 
M.F.A., 1925. 

Mrs. Montgomery Sears. 


Marionettes. 28^X20. R.A., 1926 

Miss Sargent. 


The Simplon (Chalets in a Valley). 
28X36. R.A., 1926 (7); Christies, 
1925 (120). 

Viscount Rothermere. 











1902 r 

Small Study of Titian. 17^X10^. 

R.A., 1926 (470). 
Venetian Woman. i6§Xi2. R.A., 1926 

The Alhambra. 20^X19. R.A., 1926 

(387); C.H., 1899. 
Coming down from Mt. Blanc. 36 X44!. 

Christies, 1925 (90). 
Heaven and Hell (Two Lunettes for 

Boston Library). 33§X68. Christies, 

1925 (169). 
Hercules and the Hydra (Design for 

Boston Library). 27X24!. Christies, 

1925 (175). 

Innocents Abroad. Penn., 1902. 
Little Boys, Naples. ioXn§. R.A., 

1926 (409X 

Moloch (Design for Boston Library). 

78^X352- Christies, 1925 (165). 
Mont Blanc. 355X38. Signed. R.A., 

1926 (340). 
On his Holidays. 52! X96. Signed. R.A. 

(Winter) 1909, 1926 (338);N.G., 1902. 
Orestes and the Furies (Design for 

Boston Library). 35X28. Christies, 

1925 (176). 
Original Designs for Decoration of Boston 

Library. (Three Panels.) 22^x62. 

Christies, 1925 (166). 
Portico of a Church, with a Slight Study 

of Lord Ribblesdale. 34^X24. Chris- 
ties, 1925 (92). 
The Prophets. 24X36. Christies, 1925 

A Salmon. 
A Spanish Christ, with Altar. 22^X15!. 

R.A, 1926 (368). 
St. Gerome, St. Roch, St. Sebastian. 

31 IX31!. Christies, 1925 (218). 
Study of Goya (at St. Antonio, Madrid). 

13X9L R.A, 1926 (515). 
Moses with the Tablets of the Law 

(Study). 31 X23. Christies, 1925 (203). 
Moses (Study for Boston Library). 

31IX12I. R.A, 1926 (461). 
Three Figures (with Study of a Martyr 

on reverse). i8|Xnf. Christies, 

1925 (182). 


Miss Sargent. 
C. J. Conway. 
Miss Sargent. 
Scott and Fowles. 

Mrs. Francis Ormond. 

Miss Sargent. 

Lady Lever Art Gallery. 

George McCulloch. 
Miss Sargent. 

Hon. Evan Charteris, K.C. 

D. Croal Thomson. 







Torrent in Norway. 22x28. Christies, 
1925 (146). 



His Studio. 21 X28. G.C.A.G., 1924; 
M.F.A., 1924, 1925; M.M.A., 1926. 

Mus. Fine Arts, Boston. 


My Dining Room. 28^X23^. R.A., 
1926 (333). 

W. G. de Glehn, A.R.A. 


David in Saul's Camp (Study for 
Decoration). 27 1 X25I. Christies, 1925 


David playing before Saul. 21^X29^. 
Christies, 1925 (213). 



Study for Drapery for Hosiah. Christies, 
1925 (215). 



Gethsemane. N.G., 1906. 



Gondolas. M.F.A., 1925. 

Robert C. Vose. 


Head of a Gondolier. 23^X192- RA., 

Sir Philip Sassoon, G.B.E., 

1926 (305). 



Interior of Ducal Palace, Venice. 20 X 

Viscount Lascelles, K.G., 

27*. Signed. R.A., 1926 (575). 



Piazetta, Venice. 2i|X27^. R.A., 1926 

Mrs. Francis Ormond. 


The Mosquito Net (Lady in White). 
29^X24^. Christies, 1925 (99). 



Bedouin Figures. 15IX18I. 

D. Croal Thomson. 


Bedouin. 25X18^. Signed. R.A., 

Sir Philip Sassoon, G.B.E., 

1926 (306). 



Bedouin Chief. 27^X21^. Christies, 
1925 (2oo);R.A., 1926(441). 

L. Sutra. 


Bedouin Chief. 28X22. Christies, 1925 



Study of Two Bedouins. 151x28^. 
Christies, 1925 (193). 



Bedouin Women. 10X13^. Christies, 
1925 (187); R.A., 1926 (412). 

C. J. Conway. 


Temple of Denderah. 29X24. Chris- 

Sir Frank Swettenham, 

ties, 1925 (101); R.A., 1926 (564). 



Plains of Esdraelon. 27^X43. R.A., 
1926 (517). 

Miss Sargent. 


Jerusalem. 18^X23^. R. A., 1926 (276). 

Mrs. Francis Ormond. 


Jerusalem. 27^X21^. R.A., 1926 (316). 

Miss Sargent. 


Jerusalem. 21 X27I. R.A., 1926 (294). 

Mrs. F. Ormond. 


Mountains of Moab. 25X43. R.A., 
1926 (18). 

Miss Sargent. 


Mountains of Moab, R.A., 1906; R.S.A., 
Edin., 191 1. 



Mount of Olives. 25^X38. R.A., 1926 

Miss Sargent. 


Padre Albera. N.G., 1906. 

Sir James Murray. 







Pavement, Jerusalem. 19X23. R.A., 
1926 (310). 

Mrs. F. Ormond. 


Syrian Encampment. 213X27*. Signed. 
R.A., 1926 (323). 

Capt. R. Langton Douglas. 


Syrian Study. N.G., 1906. 



Arabs at Rest. i8£Xio*. 



The Dead Sea. 22X28. Christies, 1925 



Franciscan Monk in the Garden of 
Gethsemane. 22X27. M.F.A., 1925. 

Alvan T. Fuller. 


Head of a Bedouin. 2o|Xi6|. Christies, 
1925 (190). 



Valley of Mar Seba. 25 X37I. Chris- 
ties, 1925 (89). 

Scott and Fowles. 


Palestine (Bedouin lying in Foreground). 
22X28. Christies, 1925 (126). 

Scott and Fowles. 


Architectural Study. N.G., 1907. 



Church Steps, Rome. 21IX27*. R.A., 
1926 (312). 

Miss Sargent. 


Bedouins. 10X17*. R.A., 1926 (552). 

Mrs. Clegg. 


Bedouin Arab Head. 

Sir Philip Sassoon, Bt., G.B.E., 


Falconieri Gardens, Frascati. 20X27*. 
R.A., 1926 (309). 

Hon. Evan Charteris, K.C. 


Fountain, Villa Torlonia. 26x22. 
G.C.A.G., 1924; M.M.A., 1926. 

Art Institute of Chicago. 


Fountain in Torlonia Gardens. 21 *X 
27*. R.A., 1926. 

Mrs. Francis Ormond. 


Head of a Sicilian Girl. 17X12. Inscr. 

Sir Philip Sassoon, Bt., G.B.E., 

"To Philip." R.A., 1926 (36s). 



Italian Sailor pulling a Rope. 25X18. 
Christies, 1925 (144). 



Oxen Resting. R.A., 1926 (24). 

Hon. Evan Charteris, K.C. 


Sicilian Peasant. 22^X17. R.A., 1926 

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cam- 




Study of Architecture, Florence. 28 X 
36. Christies, 1925 (108); M.F.A., 



Roman Architecture. 27*X2i*. Chris- 

Sir Philip Sassoon, Bt., G.B.E., 

ties, 1925 (115); R.A., 1926 (44). 



Statue of Vertumnus of Frascati. 29! X 
22. R.A., 1926 (379). 

Municipal Gallery, Dublin. 


Study of a Balustrade. 27*X2i*. 

Sir Philip Sassoon, Bt., G.B.E., 

Christies, 1925 (130); R.A., 1926 (50). 



Villa Torlonia. 27X34*. R.A., 1926 

Venetian Wine Shop. 21 X27*. R.A., 

Miss Sargent. 


Miss Sargent. 

1926 (278). 








View in Sicilv. 22X27 J. R.A., 1926 

Villa Papa Giulio. 21^x27!. R.A., 1926 


Window in the Vatican. 28x21$. 

Christies, 1925 (321); N.G., 1907; 

R.A., 1926 (321). 
The Brook. 2i$X27$. R.A., 1926 (301). 
Cashmere. 27^X42$. R. A., 1909, 1926 

Hermit. 38X38. M.F.A., 1925. 
Majorcan Fishermen. 27^X21$. 

Signed and dated. R.A., 1926 (298). 
Horses at Palma. Majorca. 20^X27$. 

Christies, 1925 (151). 
Ilex Wood. Majorca. 22X28. Chris- 
ties, 1925 (no). 
Pomegranates. Majorca. 27^X22. 

Christies, 1925 (113). 
Pomegranates. Majorca. 22X28. 

Christies, 1925 (124). 
Rocks and Torrents, Majorca. 22X28. 

Christies, 1925 (107). 
Valdemosa, Majorca (Thistles and 

Herbage on a Hillside). 22x28. 
Pomegranate Trees. Valdemosa. 28 X 

36. Christies, 1925 (83). 
The Moraine. 22 X27. R.A., 1926 (560). 
SantaMariaDellaSalute, Venice. 25 X36. 

Christies, 1925 (102); R.A., 1926 (22). 
Albanian Olive Gatherers. 37 X44$. 

Signed. R.A., 1910 and 1926 (56). 
The Brook (Rose, Marie and Reine Or- 

mond). 21^X27$. R.A., 1926 (275). 
Landscape in Corfu. 28x22. Signed. 

R.A., 1926 (313). 
Corfu. Two Girls reclining under 

Cypress Trees. 28X35$. Christies, 

1925 (87). 
A Garden in Corfu. 21^X27$. Signed. 

R.A., 1910 and 1926 (286). 
Olives in Corfu. 357X27$. Signed and 

dated. R.A., 1926 (5). 
Olive Trees at Corfu. 25X36. St. 

Louis, 1917; M.F.A., 1925. 
Olive Trees at Corfu. 20X24. Chris- 
ties, 1925 (136). 


Hon. Evan Charteris, K.C. 

Miss Sargent. 

Sir Philip Sassoon, Bt., G.B.E., 

Mrs. Francis Ormond. 
R. H. Benson. 

Metropolitan Museum, N.Y. 
Viscount Rothermere. 


Scott and Fowles. 
Scott and Fowles. 



Viscount Rothermere. 
Viscount Rothermere. 

Corporation of Manchester. 

Mrs. Francis Ormond. 

Sir Frank Swettenham, 

D. Croal Thomson. 

Viscount Rothermere. 

Fitzwilliam Mus., Cambridge. 

Hon. Breckinridge. 


Capt. R. Langton Douglas. 












Cypresses. R.A., 191 2. 
Cypresses and Pines. 36X24. 
Cypresses and Pines. N.E.A.C., 1910; 

R.A., 1914; G.C.A.G., 1924. 
Dolce Far Niente. 16x29. N.E.A.C, 

1909; M.F.A., 1925; M.M.A., 1926. 
Gipsy Encampment. 
Olives at Corfu. 21IX27I. Signed 

R.A., 1926 (307). 
Vespers. R.A., 1910. 
Alpine Pool. 30IX44. Christies, 1925 

Brenda Glacier. 46 X 36I. 
Behind the Curtain. N.E.A.C, 1910. 
The Fountain at Bologna. 20X28. 

R.A., 1926 (320). 
Chess Game. G.C.A.G., 1924. 
Girls gathering Blossoms, Valdemosa. 

28X22. Christies, 1925 (129). 
Horses at Palma. 2ifX28. Christies, 

1925 (hi). 
Landscape at Simplon. 26x28. 
The Loggia. R.A., 1911. 
Mountain Torrent, Simplon. 34X44. 

M.F.A., 1925; M.M.A., 1926. 
Olive Grove. N.E.A.C.,1910; C.H.,1917. 
Olive Grove. 28x22. 
Princess Nouronihar. 22^X28. 
Church of Santa Maria Delia Salute. 

N.E.A.C, 1910. 
Simplon. St. Bot. C, 1922; G.C.A.G., 

View in Simplon Valley. 37X45. 

Christies, 1925 (84). 
Simplon Pass. 28 X36I. Cor. Gal., 

Shoeing the Ox. 2i|X27§. Signed. 
Thistles. 22IX28. M.F.A., 1925. 
Thistles. 22X28. Christies, 1925 (198). 
Thistles. 22X28. Christies, 1925 (202). 
Val d' Aosta (A Man Fishing). 22X28. 

Christies, 1925 (123). 
Val d' Aosta (Stepping Stones). 22 X28. 

Christies, 1926 (106). 
Val d' Aosta (A Stream over Rocks). 

Val d' Aosta (A Mountain Stream). 



Copley Galleries. 

Brooklyn Museum. 

Sir James Murray. 

Capt. R. Langton Douglas. 

Johannesburg Art Gal. 

Sir Philip Sassoon, Bt., G.B.E., 

Albert Sneck. 
Scott and Fowles. 



Mrs. Montgomery Sears. 

Johannesburg Gallery. 

Mrs. Montgomery Sears. 


James P. Parmelee. 

Aberdeen Gallery. 
Miss Grace Nichols. 
D. Croal Thomson. 





29 1 





A Waterfall. 28X44}. RA., 1911; 
Perm., 1914; N.A.D., 1914. 

Samuel P. Peters. 


Armageddon (Lunette: Design for Bos- 
ton Library). 273X543. Christies, 
1925 (171). 


Armageddon (Lunette: Design for Bos- 
ton Library). R.A., 191 1. 



Armageddon (Lunette: Design for Boston 
Library). 30 X 60. Christies, 1925 (170). 



Breakfast in the Loggia. R.A., 191 2. 

Mr. and Mrs. F. Neilson. 


Bringing down Marble from the Quarries 
to Carrara. R.A., 191 2. 



Church of the Gesuiti, Venice. 21 \ X27^. 

Sir Philip Sassoon, Bt., G.B.E., 

Christies, 1925(128); R.A., 1926 (30). 


1911 ? 

Nonchaloire (Mme. Michel). M.F.A., 

Mrs. Hugo Risinger (Mrs. 

1925; M.M.A., 1926. 

C. E. Greenough). 


The Rialto. 21^X26. R.A., 1926 

Mrs. F. Ormond. 


Woman in a Cashmere Shawl. 28 X 
21 5. Inscr. "To my Friend George 
Roller." R.A., 1926 (282). 

Major G. Roller. 



George W. Elkins. 


Venetian Woman. 16^X12^. Christies, 
1925 (185). 



The Entombment. 14^X17 (Copy: 
Fresco in a Church in Granada). 
Christies, 1925 (217). 


Fountain at Granada. 22X28. Chris- 
ties 1925 (109). 



Granada: Sun Spots. 27^X21 f. R.A., 
1926 (324). 

Miss Sargent. 


Hospital at Granada. R.A., 1913. 

Nat. Gal. of Victoria, Mel- 


Pavement at Granada. 14X19^. R.A., 
1926 (377). 

Miss Sargent. 


Spanish Landscape. 21^X27^. 

Mus. of Occidental Art, Tokio 
(K. Matsukata). 


The Sierra Nevada. 22X25^. Signed. 
R.A., 1926 (281). 

H. W. Henderson. 


On the Simplon Pass. 27^X25^. Signed 
and dated. R.A., 1926 (336), 

Lt.-Col. E. A. Armstrong. 


Spanish Gypsies. R.A., 1913. 



Still Life Study. Goupil Gal., 1913. 



Reconnoitring. 28x22. N.E.A.C, 
1916, 1924, 1925; Cor. Gal., 1916, 
1917; St. Bot. C, 1922; M.M.A., 








Resting. 8^Xio?. Signed. 

Two Girls Fishing. 22X28. Signed 

M.F.A., 1925; M.M.A., 1926. 
The Weavers. R.A., 19 13. 
Corner of Church at San Stae, Venice. 

22X28. Signed. 
The Courtyard. 
Courtyard with Flowering Plants. 

27^X21 1. Christies, 1925 (104). 
Courtyard, Scuola di San Giovanni 

Evangelista, Venice. 28x22!. 
The Palace Labbia. Venice. 21IX27I. 

Signed and dated. R.A., 1926 (32). 
Lago di Garda. C.H., 1917. 
Marble Quarries at Carrara. 
Marble Quarries at Carrara. 28 X36. 

Signed. M.F.A., 1925. 
Marble Quarries at Carrara. 27 £ X 

21 f. Signed and dated. R.A., 1926 

Moorish Courtyard. 28x36. G.C.A.G., 

1924; M.M.A., 1926. 
San Geremia. R.A., 1914. 
San Vigilio. 27IX71. Signed and 

dated. R.A., 1919, 1926 (363). 
San Vigilio (A Winding Road and Cypress 

Trees). 28X36. Christies, 1925 (85). 
Two Sailing Barges in a Dock at San 

Vigilio. 28X22. 
Cypress Trees at San Vigilio. 29X36. 

Christies, 1925 (86). 
Landscape. San Vigilio. R.A., 1919. 
A Boat with a Golden Sail, San Vigilio. 

22x28. M.F.A., 1925; Christies, 

1925 (134). 

Landscape San Vigilio. 33X44. R.A., 

1926 (369). 

A Landscape Study at San Vigilio. 

36X45- Christies, 1925 (178). 
Three Boats in the Harbour of San 

Vigilio. 28x22. Chicago, 1 91 6. 
Boats in Harbour, San Vigilio, Lago di 

Garda. Art Institute of Chicago, 1915. 
Cattle Grazing in the Tyrol. 22X28. 

Christies, 1925 (122). 
The Confessional (Austrian Tyrol). 

28X22. G.C.A.G., 1924; M.F.A., 



Cincinnati Mus. Assoc. 

Freer Gallery. 
C. Ledyard, N.Y. 

Mrs. E. H. Harrsion. 


Mrs. Francis Ormond. 

Metropolitan Museum, N.Y. 
Captain R. Langton Douglas. 

James H. Clarke. 

Hon. Evan Charteris, K.C. 


Alvan T. Fuller. 

Sir Laurence R. Phillips, Bt. 


Barbizon House. 
Desmond Fitzgerald. 







A Crucifix in the Tyrol. 27 J X 
21. Signed and dated. R.A., 1926 

Captain R. Langton Douglas. 


Garden Sketch. 24X18. Worcester Art 
Museum, 1914; M.F.A., 1925. 

Frederick S. Pratt Estate. 


Graveyard in Tyrol. 36x28. Signed 
M.F.A.; 1924, 1925; G.C.A.G., 1924. 

Robert Treat Paine. 


Master and his Pupils. 28X22. R.A., 
1915; G.C.A.G., 1924; M.F.A., 1925. 

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 


Mountain Lake, Austrian Tyrol. 



Mountain Scene. 21 5X273. Signed. 
R.A., 1926. 

Viscount Rothermere. 


A Mountain Stream, Tyrol. 10^X15. 
R.A., 1926 (582). 

Adrian Stokes, R.A. 


Sheepfold in Tyrol. 28 X36. 

L. C. Ledyard, N.Y. 


The Sketchers. 28X22. R.A., 1914. 

H. P. Carolan. 


Trout Stream in Tyrol. 



In the Austrian Tyrol. 21 5X27 3. 
Signed and dated. R.A., 1926 (11). 

H. W. Henderson. 


Tyrolese Interior. 22X28. M.F.A., 
1925; R.A., 1915. 

Metropolitan Museum. 


Bacchanal. R.A., 1916. 



A Tyrolese Crucifix. 36x28. Signed. 
R.A., 1915. 



The Archers (Decorative Design). 30 X 

Cornwall County Art Museum 

30. Circular. Signed. Christies, 

and Art Gallery. 

1925 (94); R.A., 1916 and 1926 (15). 


Bacchus (A Decoration). 432X43-2. 
R.A., 1926 (57). 

Mrs. Francis Ormond. 


The Blue Bowl. 

Walker Art Gallery, Liver- 
pool, 1 916. 


Forest Pool. 

Howard Lypsey. 


LakeO'Hara. 37X56. G.C.A.G., 1924; 
M.F.A., 1925; M.M.A., 1926. 

Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge. 


Nudes. iShX3Sh R.A., 1926 (93). 

Miss Sargent. 


The Judgment of Paris (Decorative 
Design). 30X30. Circular. R.A., 
1926 (19). _ 

Miss Sargent. 


A Tent Inside (Canadian Rockies). 
22IX28. M.F.A., 1925. 

Mrs. John W. Elliot. 


Tents at Lake O'Hara. 22JX77. 
G.C.A.G., M.F.A., 1925; M.M.A., 

Thomas A. Fox. 


View of Mountains. i2Xi6£. 

Mrs. F. L. Eldridge. 


Yoho Falls, Canadian Rocky Mountains. 
Fenway Court. 

Mrs. John L. Gardner. 


Fountain at Pocantico Hills. 28X22. 
M.F.A., 1925. 

St. Botolph Club. 







Arras. 21^X27^. Signed and dated. 

Sir Philip Sassoon, Bt., G.B.E., 

R.A., 1919 and 1926 (304). 



Arrival of American Troops at the Front, 
France, 191 8. 16^X27 1. R.A., 1926 

Miss J. H. Heyneman. 


Gassed. The Dressing Station at Le Bac 
du Sud on the Doullens-Arras Road, 
August, 191 8. 901x240. Signed and 
dated. R.A., 1919 and 1926 (318). 

Imperial War Museum. 


Study for Gassed, 191 8. 10X27. 
Inscr. "To Evan Charteris." R.A., 
1926 (598). 

Hon. Evan Charteris, K.C. 


Going up the Line. 141x27!. R.A., 

Sir Philip Sassoon, Bt., G.B.E., 

1926 (596). 



The Road (A War Picture). 26x15. 
M.F.A., 1924, 1925, 1926; G.C.A.G., 



Shoeing Cavalry Horses at Front. 

Presented to G.C.A.G. 


Astarte. A Design for the Boston Library. 
Christies, 1925 (164). 



The Danaes. A Lunette. A Design for 
the Boston Library. 30X60. Chris- 
ties, 1925 (173). 


The Seasons. A Lunette. A Design for 



Sketch for the Unveiling of Truth. 
Part of the decoration for the Boston 
Library. 36 X45. Christies, 1925 (167). 


Two Studies. Sphinx and Chimaera. 

J. S. S. 


Unveiling of Truth. A Lunette. A 
Design for the Boston Library. Chris- 
ties, 1925 (174). 


The Coast of Algiers. iofXi3£. Chris- 
ties, 1925 (184). 



A Herd of Goats. G.C.A.G., 1924. 

Charles Deering, Esq. 


Spanish Landscape. 27^X21!. 



Spanish Stable. G.C.A.G., 1924. 

Charles Deering. 


Street in Algiers. i3§Xio. Christies, 
1925 (186). 

- — - 


The Arbor. Goupil Gallery, 1924. 

Sir Philip Sassoon, Bt., G.B.E., 


The Artist Sketching. 22X27. M.F.A., 

R. T. Crane, Jr. 



2 95 



Boy lying on the Beach. \0\X13\. Christies, 

1925 (185). 
Canal Scene. 6J-X24. 
Country Road in Winter. 25X295. Christies, 

1925 (95). 
A Donkey. 20X27. Christies, 1925 (133). 
Fishing — A Trout Stream. 28 X22. 
In the Garden. 22x28. Christies, 1925 (127). 
Girl fishing on a Beach. 19^ X28. 
Group with Parasols. 21^X27!. Signed. 

R.A, 1926 (23). 
Head of Christ. 26X18. M.F.A., 1925. 
Head of a Male Model (slight moustache). 
Head of a Male Model (heavy moustache). 

Christies, 1925. 
Head of a Man. 
Head of a Woman. 
Head of a Woman (bare shoulders). 
Hollyhocks. 39X32^. Christies, 1925 (204). 
Landscape. 20IX25. R.A., 1926 (571). 
Landscape with Goats. 22X28. 
Landscape with Woman seated in Foreground. 
Male Model standing before a Stove. 27I X22. 

Christies, 1925 (199). 
Male Model seated. 21X17. Christies, 1925 

Male Model reclining on the Ground. 16 X20. 

Christies, 1925 (206). 
Male Model lying on the Ground. 12X18. 

Christies, 1925 (189). 
Male Model resting. 22X28. Christies, 1925 

A Man reading. 25x22. Christies, 1925 

Male Model with Arms folded. 271x13^. 

Christies, 1925 (141). 
Peasant Boy. 24X18. Christies, 1925 (138). 
Persian Carpet. 54X40. Christies, 1925 (179). 
Portrait of a Boy in Black Dress. 23X17I. 

Christies, 1925 (145). 
Portrait of a Gentleman. 25X175. Christies, 

1925 (191). 
Portrait of a Man wearing Laurels, and an 

Angel. Christies, 1925 (237). 


Russell Cooke. 



L. F. Harrison. 

Mus. Fine Arts, Boston. 

Scott and Fowles. 


Scott and Fowles. 

Mrs. F. Ormond. 
Freer Gallery. 
Scott and Fowles. 




Portrait of a Man. 23X17^. Christies? 
Portrait of a Man wearing a Large Black Hat. 

24X18. Christies, 1925 (195). 
Shepherd looking out. 17^X24. Christies, 

1925 (212). 
Study of a Bust at Lille. 
Study of a Fig Tree. 22x28. Christies, 

1925 (201). 
Study of a Man. 22 X 17?. 
Study of a Man. 25 X3o|. 
Statue of Perseus in Florence. 36x50!. 
Revenge. 28x24. Christies, 1925 (177). 
Road with Wall on Right. 18 Xi2f. 
Sea Coast with Wreck. i6f X13!. 
A Siesta. 21^X27^. Christies, 1925 (194). 
Torre Galle, Florence. 22X36. Christies, 

1925 (114). 
LInder the Cypress Trees. 35^X28. 
Head of a Young Man. 17? X9^. R.A., 1926 

Young Man earing a 15th Century Costume. 
25X16I. Christies, 1925 (139). 


Miss Sargent. 



Miss Sargent. 

C. J. Conway 


A Vele Gonfie (Sargent), 165 

Abbey, Edwin, 58, 81, 94; friendship 
with Sargent, 72-73, 201; on life at 
Broadway, 79; decorative work for 
Boston Library, 103 et seg. y 116, 117; 
letter from Sargent to, 137; death 
of, 201, 222 

Abbey, Mrs., 119, 120; at Fairford, 1 16— 

Abbott, S. A. B., letter to, from Charles 

McKim, 104 et seq. 
Academia delle Belle Arti, Florence, 

Sargent at, 15, 19 
Academicians, the, 30, 25 
Academism, revolt against, 86, 89 et seq. 
Achesons, the, portraits of, by Sargent, 

68, 177 
"Afternoon of a Faun" (Debussy), 148. 
Agnew, Lady, portrait of, by Sargent, 


Alba, Duke of, letter from Sargent to, 

Albanian Olive Gatherers (Sargent), 189 
Alexander, Mrs., Whistler's portrait of, 

Americans in Europe, 3-4, 40 
Animals, Sargent as a painter of, 177 
Anstruther, Capt. H. J. E., on Sargent 

in the War zone, 216 
"Arabia Deserta" (Doughty), 231 
Aranjuez, Sargent's description of, 171 
Archer, William, letter from Stevenson 

to, 79-80 
Armstrong, Colonel Ernest, 203 
Arrival of American Troops at the Front, 

France, 191 8 (Sargent), 213 
"Aspern Papers, The" (James), 15 
"Assassine, L " (Duran), 24, 28 
Astigmatism and Impressionism, 123, 

124, 132, 133; effect on Greco's art, 

Athenaum, The, on Sargent's portrait 

of Mrs. Henry White, 66 
Atlantic Storm, An (Sargent), 176 

Austin, Mrs., letters from Sargent to, 
18, 19; portrait of, by Sargent, 56-57 
Autumn on the River (Sargent), 223 

Bac, M., 49 

Bailey, Sir Abe, 217 

Balfour, Earl, portrait of, by Sargent, 

Baltimore Doctors, group by Sargent, 

159, 177 

Barbizon School, 30-31, 91 

Barnard, Fred, 73 

Barnard family, 169, 170 

Barnard, Misses, 231; models in Carna- 
tion, Lily, Lily Rose, 74 et seq., 151 

Barnard, Mrs. Fred, portrait of, by 
Sargent, 90 

Barrett, Lawrence, 58; portrait of, by 
Sargent, 109 

Bastien-Lepage, 57, 77, 91 

Baudry, 105, 208 

Beardsley, Aubrey, 142 

"Beauty and Ugliness" (Vernon Lee), 

Becker, Georges, picture by Sargent and, 


Beckford, William, 231 

Beckwith, Caroll, 36, 38, 43, 47 

Beerbohm, Max, 142, 169; caricature 
of Sargent by, 156; essays of, 231 

"Belcaro" (Vernon Lee), SSi 5& 

Belleroche, Albert, on Sargent's litho- 
graphs, 44 and n. 

Below Niagara (Sargent), 41 

Benson, Arthur, 142 

Besnard, 57, 254 

Biarritz, Sargent family at, 7-8 

Blake, William, 199 

Blanche, Jacques, 90 

Boit children, Sargent's portraits of, 

Boit family, 70 

Boit, Mrs., portrait of, 97, 174 

Boldini, 57, 225 




Bob Bock, Le (Manet), 33 

Campbell-Bannerman, Sir Henry, letter 

Bonnat, 36, 48, 57, 225 

from Sargent to, 220 

Bonington, R. P., 83 

Canova, 247 

Booth, Edwin, portrait of, by Sargent, 

Capri, Sargent at, 47-48 


Carlyle, T., 92 

Bordeaux, 6 

Carmencita, portrait and study of, 109 

Borrow, George, 92 

et seq. y 116, 140 

Boston, Sargent's designs for decoration 

CamationyLi/y^Li/y Rose(Sa.rgent) ,72,74 

of Library and Museum at, 98, 99, 

et seq. y 83, 96, 252; nickname for, 178 

103 et seq. y 1 14, 116-117, 136, 141, 

Carstairs, Charles, viii 

143-144, 154, 155, 166, 189, 205, 

Carter, Mr., viii 

207, 217, 232; list of decorations in 

Case, Admiral, 6 

the Museum, 121 ; notes on, 208-209 

Cashmere (Sargent), 170, 210 

"Bostonians" (James), 73 

Castillo, Rafael del, 5 

Botticelli, 56 

Castillo, Ben del, 5; Sargent's letters to, 

Boudin, 34 

6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 22, 37, 38, 47, 50, 55, 

Bougereau, 57 

59, 235, 241 

Boughton, 81 

Catechism, the Scottish, 5 

Bourget, 46 

"Causeries d'Atelier" (Couture), 125 

Bouveret, Dagnan, 57, 225 

Caw, Mr., quoted, 91 

Bowen, Lord Justice, 86 

Cazalet, W. M., 130 

Brabazon, 200; influence of, 224-225 

Cazin, 33 

Bracquemond, 33 

Cezanne, 33 y 192; MacColl on, 193 

Brandegee, Mrs., portrait of, by Sargent, 

Chamberlain, Joseph, portrait of, 140, 

73 «. 


Breton, Jules, 92 

Chase, William, 11 1 

British Red Cross Society, 178 

Chatrau, 48 

Broadway, Sargent's connection with, 

Chauler, Miss, portrait of, by Sargent, 



Broadway (Sargent), 84 

Chavannes, Puvis de, 103, 105 

Brock, H. J., cited, in »., 112 n. 

Children, Sargent's opinion of, 75 

Bronsons, the, 15 

Childers, Erskine, 169 

Brook, The (Sargent), 210 

Chintreuil, 33 

Brooks, Mr., Mrs., and Miss, portraits 

Choate, Joseph, portrait of, by Sargent, 

of, by Sargent, 109 


Brough, Robert, death of, 200; Sargent's 

Cholmondeley, Lady, portraits of, by 

friendship with and appreciation of 

Sargent, 157 

his work, 200, 222 

Churchill, Captain Spencer, 212 

Brown, Ford Madox, 87, 88 

Churchill, Winston, 43 

Brown, Professor, 90 

Church of Santa Maria della Salute 

Browne, Sir Thomas, works of, 23 1 

(Sargent), 189 

Bullard, General, 213 

Church of the Gesuiti on the Zatterey 

Buloz, M., 52 

Venice (Sargent), 223 

Burckhardt, Miss, portrait of, by Sar- 

Civrieux, Robert de, portrait of, by 

gent, 54 

Sargent, 49 

Burckhardts, the, 70 

Clairmont, Jane, 13-14 

Burne-Jones, Sir Edward, 27, 86, 89 

Clausen, George, 90, 222 

Butler, Samuel, works of, 231 

" Clerkenwell Chicken," the, nickname 

Byron, Lord, 13, 85 

for Inverno, 117 

Clifford, Edward, 17 

Cals, 33 

Clothes, Sargent's views on, 159 

Cambridge University, honour to Sar- 

Cocksburnpath, Scottish school of 

gent by, 220 

painting at, 91 



Colarossi, a model, 117, 118 

Davis, Mrs., portrait of, by Sargent, 109, 

Colin, 33 


Collier, John, 181 

Debussy, music of, 1 3 1 ; Sargent's appre- 

Columbian Exhibition, 137 

ciation of, 148 

Colvin, Sir Sidney, 27 

"Defence of Cosmetics" (Max Beer- 

"Co-maniacs, the" (Sargent and Miss 

bohm), 142 

Strettell), 78, 94 

Defoe, works of, 231 

Comte, Jules, on portrait of Mrs. Austin, 

Degas, 34, 69, 124, 215; on Corot, 226 

56-57; on portrait of Mme. Gautreau, 

Dejeuner surVHerbe, Le (Manet), 33, 60 


Delacroix, 125 

Comvns-Carr, Mr. and Mrs., 94, 101, 

Delafosse, Leon, 140, 150; portrait of, 


by Sargent, 175 

Constable, John, 30, 199 

Demarco, a model, 117 

Conway, Mr. C. J., 115 n. 

Dering, Mr., 114 

Cooke, Mrs. Russell, portrait of, by 

Dewey, Mrs. Francis, portrait of, by 

Sargent, 154 

Sargent, 109 

Coolidge, Templeman, 44 

Diaz, 30, 31 

Coolidge, T. Jefferson, 51 

Dickens, Charles, works of, 231 

Cope, Sir Arthur, R.A., 217, 218; on 

"Dictionnaire Philosophique " (Vol- 

Sargent and the Royal Academy, 221 

taire), 232 

Corot, 30, 3 1 ; on the Barricades fighting, 

Dillon, Lord, 217 

1848, 202 

Dinner Table at Night, A (Sargent), 68, 

Courbet, Gustave, 31-32 


Court of the Lions, The (Sargent), 51 

Dogs, Sargent's paintings of, 176 

Courtois, Gustave, 64 

Domenge, M., 13 

Couture, 32, 125 

Doucet, 48 

Crane, Walter, 86; Watts' portrait of, 

Downes, W. H., "Life and Work of 


Sargent," cited, III, 112, 178; on 

Crawford, F. Marion, works of, 212- 

portrait of Lord Wemyss, 176 


Dresden, Sargent family in, 17 

Crawhall, Joseph, 91 

Duclaux, Mary, on Carnation, Lily, 

Crucifix, The, sculpture (Sargent), 166- 

Lily Rose, 252 


Duncan, Mary, 2 

Cubists, the, Sargent's attitude to, 193 

Duncan, Nathaniel, 2 

Curtis, Mr. and Mrs. Charles, 171 ; 

Duncan, Peter, 2 

portraits of, by Sargent, 163 

Dunham, Miss, portrait of, by Sargent, 

Curtis, Ralph, 44, 51, 57; sketch of, 52; 

137, 138 

letter from, to his parents on portrait 

Duran, Carolus, 57, 60, 89, 106, 130, 

of Mme. Gautreau, 61; letter from 

182, 225, 247, 251; career and fame 

Sargent to, 141, 155, 171; portrait of, 

of, 23 et seq.; influence of, on Sar- 

by Sargent, 163 

gent, 28-29, 134; and Velasquez, 3s; 

Curzon of Kedleston, the Marquess, 

portrait of Sargent by, 44; portrait 

portrait of, by Sargent, 204 

of, by Sargent, 49 

Durand-Ruel, M., 69, 130 

D'Abernon, Viscountess, portrait of, 

Diirer, Albert, 56, 199 

by Sargent, 184-185 

Duse, 158 

D'Abernon, Viscount, 164 n. 

Dutch school of landscape painters, 200 

Dame au Gant, La (Duran), 24, ^ 

Duveen, Sir Joseph, 226 

Dana, William, 70 

Duxbury, Mrs., portrait of, by Sargent, 

Dans les Olivier s Capri (Sargent), 48, 49 


Daubigny, 30, 31 

Daudet, Alphonse, 92 

East, Alfred, 90 

Daux, M., 49 

"£cole de Pharmacie" (Besnard), 236 



Edelfeldt, 36 

Egypt, Sargent in, 114 

Elcho, Lord, 206 

Eliot, George, 92 

Elles, General, 212 

Emmanuel, Maurice, on Debussy, 131 

Emmett, Jane, see Mrs. de Glehn. 

English landscape, 82 et seq. 

En Route pour la Peche (Sargent), 38, 47 

Epes, Mary, 2 

Europe, the American in, 3-4, 40 

European War, Sargent's attitude to, 
202 et seq.; visit to the War zone, 
210 et seq. ; influence of, on his art, 218 

Evans, Miss Jane, portraitof, by Sargent, 

Expectancy : A Young Girl (Sargent), 223 
Eyres, the, 15 

Fairchild, Mrs. Charles, 96 

Fairford, Sargent at, 109, 116-117, 136; 

leaves, 155 
Falling Rocket, The (Whistler), 86 
Farnham House, Sir E. Gosse on, 72-73 
Farquharson family, 114 
Farquharson, Joseph, R. A., 10, 25 n., $$, 

118, 169 
Faure, Gabriel, Sargent's predilection 

for music of, 147, 149 et seq., 158; 

letter from Sargent to, 228 
Feilding, Sir Geoffrey, 212; on Sargent 

in the War zone, 211 
"Finish" in painting, 87, 122 
Finn, James, 117, 120 
Fisher, Mark, 90 
Fitzpatrick, Lady Mary, Reynolds's 

portrait of, no 
Fladbury, Sargent at, 99, 133, 250 
Flannels (Sargent), 189 
Flaubert, Gustave, 114 
Flaxman, 208 
Florence, Sargent family in, 1, 15, 17; 

Vernon Lee on Sargent at, 246 et seq. 
Florentine Nocturne (Sargent), 189 
Forbes, Charles, 44 
"Fors Clavigera" (Ruskin), 86 
Fortnightly Review, 73 
Fortune Tellers (Reynolds), no 
Fourcaud, M. de, on portrait of Mme. 

Gautreau, 63 
Fowler, Frank, 36 
Fox,Thomas A. description of Sargent's 

Boston decorations by, 208 

Francia, Joe, 23 

Fraser, Mrs. Hugh, 94; quoted on 
Sargent, 16 

French Art circa 1870, 30 et seq. 

Frith, 86 

Fromentin, 27 

Fry, Roger, on portraits of the Misses 
Wertheimer, 165; on Post-Impres- 
sionism, 1 91-192; on the value of 
Sargent's art, 194 

Fulham Road, Sargent's studio in, 155 

Fumee d'Ambre Gris, 51, 52, 251 

Furse, Charles, 200; on Sargent as a 
portrait painter, 194; friendship of 
Sargent and, 228 

Gainsborough, 93 

Game of Bowls at Ightham Moat (Sar- 
gent), 84, 116 

Garden at Corfu, A (Sargent), 189 

Gardner, Mrs., 50, 6$ ; and El Jaleo, 5 1 ; 
Sargent's portrait, of 97; letters to, 
100-101, 162, 216; and Carmencita, 

Gassed (Sargent), 155, 219, 254; first 
sketches for, 212; occasion and paint- 
ing of, 214 et seq. 

Gauguin, 192, 193 

Gautier, Theophile, quoted, 202 

Gautreau, Mme., portrait of, by Sargent, 
59 et seq., 67, 98, 165, 208, 249, 250, 
252; portrait of, by Courtois, 64 

Gay, Walter, 44 

Gazette des Beaux Arts, 63 

Geddes, Professor, on Sargent's Alpine 
sketches, 253 

Generals of the European War, Sargent's 
portrait group of, 155, 217 et seq. 

Gerome, 33, 76 

Gibbon, Edward, works of, 231 

Girl in white (Whistler), 33 

Gissing, George, 92 

Gitana (Sargent), 43 

Glacier Streams (Sargent), 189 

"Glasgow school" of painting, 91 

Glehn, Wilfred de, 113, 115 n., 117, 120, 
169, 170; letters from Sargent to, 
195, 230-231 

Glehn, Mrs. W. de, 169, 170, 173, 178; 
cited, 95, 96; on Carmencita dancing, 
in, 112 

Gloucester, U.S.A., 1, 2 

Gobineau, 231 



Goelet, Beatrice, portrait of, by Sar- 
gent, 109, 1 10 

Goncourts, the, 92 

Gosse, Sir Edmund, 87; friendship with 
Sargent, 72-7J; on Carnation, Lily, 
Lily Rose, 74-75; on Sargent's method 
of work, 76 et seq.; Sargent's portrait 
of, 79, 142; letter from Sargent to, 
i42;onPatmore and his portraits, 1 53 

Gossensass, Sargent at, 95 

Gotch, T. C, 90 

Goujon, Jean, 196 

Goya, 93 

Grainger, Percy, 169; on Sargent's 
musical abilities, 149 et seq. 

"Great Good Place, The" (James), 146 

Greco, horseman by, 159; art of, and 
astigmatism, 195-196 

Gregory, Elliot, 44, 137 

Gribble, Mrs. George, portrait of, 100 

Grieffenhagen, Maurice, 90 

Grosvenor Gallery, 86, 89, 90 

Guthrie, Sir James, 91, 217; letter 
from Sargent to, 218 

Hacker, Arthur, 90 
Haig, Earl, Sargent as guest of, 211 
Haldane, General Sir Aylmer, 212 
Hale, Mrs., Sargent's letters to, 161-162, 

Hale, Richard, 209 n. 
Haley, Henry, on Sargent's methods 

and teaching, at Royal Academy 

Schools, 186 et seq. 
Hals, Franz, 29, 51, 91, 154, 156, 197; 

Sargent's admiration for, and influence 

of, 134, 139, 140; Sir Charles Holmes 

on his influence on Sargent, 194-195 
Hammersley, Mrs. Hugh, portraits of, 

by Sargent, 137, 184 
Hampton Court, Raphael cartoons at, 

Hands, Sargent's use of, in portraiture, 

138, 157-158, 176, 210 
Harland, Henry, 142 
Harpignies, 33 
Harrison, Mr. and Mrs. L. A., 116, 169, 

231; see also under Strettell 
Harvard University, commemoration 

panels for, 103, 219; letter from 

Sargent to Philosophical Society of, 

"Hassan" (Flecker), 231 

Hastings, Colonel, 212 

Helleu, Paul, 128, 130; friendship of 
Sargent and, 36, 44 et seq., 51, ig$\ 
portrait of, and Mme. Helleu by 
Sargent, 99, 133 

Hemenway, Mrs. Augustus, portrait of, 
by Sargent, 138, 174 

Henry, George, 91 

Henschel, Sir George, 116; portrait of, 
by Sargent, 100, 101; letters from 
Sargent to, 101, 102, 118, 227 

Herkomer, H., 68; on his debt to 
Sargent, 188 

Hermit, The (Sargent), 151, 170 

Heyneman, Miss J. H., 116; Sargent's 
help and advice to, 51, 181 et seq.; 
Sargent's conversations with, 113, 
222; meeting and friendship of 
Sargent and, 138 et seq.; on Sargent's 
love of music, 146 

Hill Hall, near Epping, Sargent at, 168- 

Hills, Mrs. Ernest, portrait of, by 
Sargent, 154 

Hinckley, Robert, 44 

Hirsch, Mrs. Leopold, portrait of, by 
Sargent, 113, 175 

Hogarth, 88 

Holland, Sargent in, 51-52 

Holmes, Sir Charles, on "The Age of 
Rembrandt," 194 

Home Fields (Sargent), 84 

Hood, Jacomb, 112, 118, 140 

Hospital at Granada, The (Sargent), 223 

Hotel Room, An (Sargent), 115 

Houssaye, Henry, on portrait of Miss 
Watts, 43; on El Jaleo, 57; on por- 
trait of Mme. Gautreau, 62 

Huddleston, Baron, 87 

Hunt, Holman, 86, 87 

Hunter, Mr. and Mrs. Charles, Sar- 
gent's portraits of, 68, 69, 168, 174, 
177; his friendship with, 168-169 

Huxley, Miss, 101 

Huysmans, M. J. K., 92 

Hyde, Frank, 48 

"Iberia" (Albeniz), 149 

Ibsen, Henrik, 95 

Idyllic School, the, 92 

Ightham Moat House, 84, 116 

Illustration, L\ 62 

Impression : Lever du Soleil (Mcnet), 34 



Impressionism and Impressionists, 34, 
35y 57> 9 1 ; Sargent's experiments in, 
99-100, 176, 226, 251; Sargent's atti- 
tude to, 122 et seq.; and astigmatism, 
123, 124, 132, 133, 196; see also under 

Inches, Charles, 96 

Inches, Mrs., portrait of, by Sargent, 97, 

Ingres, 63; Sargent's admiration for 

work of, 34-35, 105 
Interior of Palazzo Ducale, Venice 

(Sargent), 115 
In the Luxembourg Gardens (Sargent), 49 
"Into Battle" (Grenfell), Sargent on, 

Inverno, Nicola, Sargent's model, 117 
Irving, Sir Henry, portrait of, by Sargent, 

Israels, Josef, 92 
Italy, Sargent family in, 11 

Jaleo El (Sargent), 51, $$, 57, 97, 98, 
in, 113,251 

James, Henry, 3, 15, 70, 80, 116, 136, 
142, 145, 146, 225, 226; on The Lady 
with a Rose y 54; on portrait of Boit 
children, 58; "Letters" of, 72, 79, 
218; his friendship with and appre- 
ciation of Sargent, 73; portrait of, by 
Sargent, 79, and its damage by suf- 
fragette, 161; settlement in London, 
81 ; on Mrs. Charles Hunter, 168-169; 
attitude to European War, 202; 
death, 205-206 

James, Mrs., 225 

James, William, 29, 199; letter from 
Henry James to, 73 

Jameson, Frederick, 116; letters from 
Sargent to, 123 et seq. y 129, 132 

Japanese Art, influence of, 40 

Jefferson, Joseph, portrait of, by Sargent, 

Jenkinson, Francis, portrait of, by 
Sargent, 157, 176, 204 

Jews, the, objection of, to panel of 
Synagogue, Boston Library, decora- 
tions, 209 

Joachim, on Sargent's musical abilities, 

147, 152 
John, Augustus, 215 
Johns Hopkins Institute, Sargent group 

at, 159 

Johnson, Dr., Reynolds's portrait of, 198 
Jongkind, 33 

Jowett, Benjamin, Swinborne on, 11 
Jupiter Enthroned (Ingres), 3^ 

Keats, John, 85, 231 
"Kidnapped" (Stevenson), 79 
Kissam, Benjamin, Sargent's portrait of, 

Kitchener, Earl, death of, 206 
Korbay, 150 

La Chaise, Eugene, 43 
Lady Fishing (Sargent), 99, 133 
Lady with a Glove (Duran), S5 
Lady with a Rose, The (Sargent), 54 
Lalo, Edouard, 147 

Lamb, Mr., Secretary to Royal Acad- 
emy, on Sargent and suffragette 

outrage to portrait of James, 161 
Landes, the, 6 
Landormy, Paul, review of Emmanuel's 

book on Debussy, 131 
Lascelles, Viscount, 115 «., 212 
Last Day in the Old Home (Martineau), 

Latin Quarter, the, 37 
Latour, Fantin, 23, 33 
Laurens, Jean Paul, 33 
Lavery, Sir John, 90, 91 
Leader, B. W., 163 
Lee, Vernon, 6, 14, 49-50, 94, 99; letters 

from Sargent to, 49, S5y 5*>, 59; 

portraits of, by Sargent, 137, 250; 

" J .S.S.: In Memoriam" by, 235 et seq. 
Legh, Mrs. Wodehouse, portrait of, by 

Sargent, 68 n. 
Legros, 33 

Leigh ton, Lord, 89, 90, 142 
Lely, Sir Peter, 141 
Lemon, Arthur, 15 
Lepine, 34 

Lewis, Sir George, 116, 120 
Lewis, Lady, 116, 164; portrait of, by 

Sargent, 137; letters from Sargent to, 

144, 167, 172, 178, 201^ 
Life on the Ocean Wave," 2 
Life Study of Egyptian Girl (Sargent), 

Lister, Hon. Laura, portrait of, by 

Sargent, 109 
Liszt, 94 

Literature and painting, 93 
Livermore, Mr. and Mrs., 205 



Lobre, 44 

Lock, G. S., portrait of, by Sargent, 175 

Lodge, Senator Henry Cabot, portrait 
of, by Sargent, 109 

Loeffler, C. M., 228; on Sargent's 
musical abilities, 147 et seq.; Sargent's 
appreciation of, 1 50 

London, Sargent family in, 8-9; artistic 
atmosphere of, 17 

Loring, Mrs. Augustus P., portrait of, 
by Sargent, 109 

Louvre, ceiling in, painted by Duran 
and Sargent, 44, 106 

Low, W. H., letter from R. L. Steven- 
son to, 80 

Lubbock, Percy, Henry James's 
"Letters" edited by, 72, 79, 218 

Lucas, E. V., "Life of Edwin Abbey," 
quoted, 72, 104, 108 

Luminists, 35 

Luxembourg Gardens at Twilight (Sar- 
gent), 49 

Macbeth, Lady, portrait of Ellen Terry 
as, ioo-ioi, 137 

MacColl, D. S., 116, 169; letters from 
Sargent to, 26, 27, 122-123, 192-193, 
199, 221; on Ingres, 34; on Impres- 
sionism, 126-127, 132, and Post- 
Impressionism, 192-193 

McCulloch, Mr., 168 

MacGregor, W. G., 91 

McKim, C. F., architect of Boston 
Library, 103 et seq. 

McKim, Mead and White, 103 

"Madame Bovary" (Flaubert), 33 

Maldona, Karl, 203 

Manet, Edouard, 32 et seq., 91, 129, 
192, 193, 199, 251 

Manson, J. B., vii; letter from Sargent 
to, 189-190 

Manson, Mrs. Thomas Lincoln, portrait 
of, by Sargent, 116 

"Marble Faun, The" (Hawthorne), 243 

Marchesi, Madame Blanche, 146 

Marlborough group, portrait by Sargent, 

I75> 177 
Marquand, Mrs., portrait of, by Sargent, 

Mason, 92 
Mathias, Mrs. Robert M., portrait of, 

by Sargent, 164, 165 
Matisse, 192 

Maupassant, Guy de, 92 

Mead, Miss (Mrs. E. Abbey), 104, 105 

Mead, Mrs., 116-117 

Mead, William Rutherford, 103 

Meeting of Arthur and Guinevere, The 

(Rossetti), 88 
"Memoirs of Francis Jenkinson" 

(Stewart), quoted, 50 n. 
"Mes Haines" (Zola), 251 
Metropolitan Museum, New York, 61, 

Meyer,Mrs. Carl, portraitof, by Sargent, 

Meynell, Mrs., on portrait of Laura 

Lister, 109 
Michaelangelo, 18, 196, 208 
Michel, Madame, death of, 210 
Michel, Robert Andre, death of, 210 
Millais, Sir John, 86, 87, 89, 90, 93; 

on Whistler, 21 
Millet, 30, 31, 56,72,73, 81,94 
Milner, Mr., 218 

"Modern Art" (MacColl), quoted, 89 

"Modern Painting" (Moore), 29 

Monet, Claude, 33, 34, 69, 83, 102, 251; 

:on Boudin, 34 n.; letters to, from 

Sargent, 96-97, 102; influence of, 

100; and Impressionism, 123 et seq.; 

author's visit to, and views of, on 

Impressionism, 128 et seq.; portrait 

of, by Sargent, 133; and astigmatism, 

Montgomery, Miss, Reynolds's portrait 

of, 198 
Moore, George, 29, 92, 134 n., 169; 

on portrait of Miss Priestley, 156; on 

criticism, 191 
Moore, Mrs., 157 
Moraine, A (Sargent), 189 
Morisot, Berthe, 33 
Morley, John (Viscount Blackburn), 73 
Morning Post, article on E. Abbey in, 

Morning Walk, A (Sargent), 100 
Morocco, Sargent in, 50-51 
" Mother and Child " (Sargent), 109 
Mozart, 248 

Miirren, Sargent family in, 10 
My Dining Room (Sargent), 115 

Nation, article on Post-Impressionism 
in, and Sargent's letter to the Editor 
thereon, 1 91-192 



National Portrait Society, letter from 

Sargent to the Secretary, 162 
Natop, 68 
Newbold, Mary, mother of Sargent, 1, 

1, 2, 3 (see under Sargent, Mrs. Fitz- 

New English Art Club, 90 
Newton, C. M., 25 n. 
Newton, Lady, Sargent's portrait of, 

68 n. 
Nice, Sargent family at, $-6, 237 
Nineteenth Century , 192 
Norway, Sargent in, 167 
" Notre Dame de Paris'* (Hugo), 237 

Oakley family, 15 

"Olalla" (Stevenson), 79 

Olive Grove (Sargent), 189 

Olympia, V (Manet), 33 > 60, I o 2 > J 99 

On His Holidays (Sargent), 167 

On the Guidecca (Sargent), 189 

Orchardson, W. Q., 125 

Ormond, M., 115 

Ormond, Mrs. (Violet Sargent), 115 and 
n., 167, 170, 210, 231; Sargent's 
studies of, 99, 100 

Osier, Sir William, portrait of, by Sar- 
gent, 159 

O'Sullivan, Denis, 146 

Oxen Resting (Sargent), 133 

Oxford University, honour to Sargent 
by, 220 

Paget family, 6 

Paget, Violet, see under Lee, Vernon. 

Pailleron, Mme. E., portrait of, by 

Sargent, 52 
Palestine, Sargent in, 172 
Pall Mall Gazette, 68, 73 
Palmer, Mrs., 116 
Paris, Sargent family in, 8-9, 22; artistic 

atmosphere of, 17, 19 
Parker, Stephen, 44 
Parmigianino, 196 
Parsons, Alfred, 58, 72, 73, 90, 96, 169, 

Past and Present (Egg), 88 
Pater, Walter, works of, 231 
Patmore, Coventry, portraits of, by 

Sargent, 140, I53~i54> *74 
Patterson, James, 91 
Patterson, Judge, 99 
Pau, Sargent family at, 6 et seq. 

Peabody, George, of Salem, portrait 

of, by Sargent, 109 
" Pellias and Melisande " (Debussy, 148) 
Pennell, E. R. and J., cited on Whistler, 

11,21,70, 167 
Pennington, Chadwick, 44 
Pennington, Harper, 44 
Perugino, 56 
Phillips, Lady Faudel, portrait of, by 

Sargent, 140, 156, 174 
Picture and Text (James), 58 
Pink Dress, The (Sargent), 210 
Pinwell, 92 

Pissarro, Camille, 33, 69, 128 
Players Club, The, 104, 105 
Playfair, Edith, Lady, portrait of, by 

Sargent, 73, 96 
Playfair, Dr. William, portrait of, by 

Sargent, 96 
Playfair, Mrs. William, portrait of, by 

Sargent, 94, 96 
Pleasants, Emily Sargent, portrait of, 41 
Pope, works of, 231 
Portland, Duke of, portrait of, by 

Sargent, 177 
Portrait, A, 73 n. 
Portrait de M. R. S. (Sargent), 54 
Portrait of a Lady (Sargent), 96 
Portrait painters, 93 
Portraits and portrait painting by 
Sargent, characteristics of, 174 et seq., 
225-226, 253-254; methods of, 181 
et seq.; Sargent's revolt against, 188- 
Portraits de M. E. P. (Sargent), 54 
Portraits d'Enfants (Sargent), 57-58 
Post-Impressionism, Sargent's attitude 

to, 191 et seq. 
Poynter, Sir Edward, 86, 89, 221 et seq. 
Pratt, Miss Katherine, portrait of, by 

Sargent, 109, 137 
Pre-Raphaelites, the, 20, 86 et seq.; 

Sargent's sympathy for, 57, 62 
Prices of Sargent's pictures, 177 et seq., 

Priestley, Miss Flora, portrait of, 99, 1 56 
Primaticcio, 196 
"Prince Otto" (Stevenson), 79 
"Princess Casamassima" (James), 73 
Prothero, Lady, 231 

Quarry at Chocorua (Sargent), 225 
Quilter, Roger, 169 



Raphael, 52, 56, 195, 208, 248, 252 

Rathbone, William Gare, 151 

Realism, 91 et seq. 

"Realists," the, 31 et seq. 

Rehan, Miss Ada, portrait of, by Sargent, 

Rehearsal at Cirque d'Hiver (Sargent), 

Rehearsal of the Bas de Loup Orchestra 

(Sargent), 223 
"Religious Art in France, Thirteenth 

Century" (Male), 167 n. 
Rembrandt, 29, 52, 56, 197; Sir Charles 

Holmes on, 194 
Reni, Guido, 247-248 
Renoir, 34, 69, 251 
Revue des Deux Monde 'S, La, 62 
Reynolds, Sir Joshua, 93, 125, 141; 

Sargent's bicentenary address on, 

196 et seq. 
Richardson family, 99 
Roberts, Earl, portraits of, 204 
Robertson, Graham, portrait of, 140, 

154, 174, 177 
Robinson, Edward, 107, 108; letter 

from Sargent to, 65 
Roche, A., 91 

Rock at Treport (Monet), 96, 100 
Rockefeller, John D., portrait of, by 

Sargent, 138 
Rocky Mountains, Sargent in, 204-205 
Rodin, 46, 199 
Roller, Major Harold, 99; letter from 

Sargent to, 64-65. 
Roller, Mrs., 99 
Romantic movement, 92, 93 
Rome, Sargent's childhood in, 10, 237, 

241 et seq.; British School at, 222 
Roosevelt, Theodore, 162; portrait of, 

by Sargent, 138, 204 
Rosina, a model, 48 
Ross, Robert, letter from Sargent to, 

Rossetti, D. G., 86 et seq. 
Rousseau, Theodore, 30 
Royal Academy, Sargent's address to, 

on Sir Joshua Reynolds, 196 et seq.; 

Presidency of, refused by Sargent, 221 
Royal Academy Schools, Sargent's 

teaching at, 186 et seq., 222 
Ruskin, John, e,6, 78, 253, 254; attack 

on Whistler, 20, 86-87 
Russell, Mr., 36 

Russell, Mrs. Charles, portrait of, by 

Sargent, 195 
"Rutherford, Mark," 92 
Rutter, Frank, cited, 133 

Sain, 48 

St. Gaudens, Augustus, 21, 103; letter 
to Abbey from, 104; portrait of, by 
Sargent, 137; on The Crucifix, 167 n. 

St. Gaudens, Mrs., portrait of, by 
Sargent, 137 

St. Gaudens, Homer, portrait of, by 
Sargent, 137-138 

St. Mark's, Venice: the Pavement 
(Sargent), 115 

St. Martin s Summer (Sargent), 100, 133 

St. Paul's Cathedral, memorial to 
Sargent in the crypt of, 167 

St. Simon, 231 

Salaman, Mrs. Eustace, portrait of, by 
Sargent, 164 

"Salammbo" (Flaubert), 114 

"Salon des Refuses," 23 

Sambourne, Linley, 118 

San Francisco Exhibition, 1916, 6^ 

San Sebastian, 7-8 

Sant, J., 141 

Santa Sophia, Constantinople, Sargent's 
study of, 115 

Sargent, Charles Sprague, 2 

Sargent, Emily, sister of J. S. S., vii, 5 et 
j^.,15,36,53, 114 et seq., II5»., 167, 
169, 170, 231, 241, 246, 248 

Sargent, Epes (b. 1690), 2 

Sargent, Epes (b. 18 13), 2 

Sargent, FitzWilliam, father of J. S. Sar- 
gent, 1 , 3, 247; letter from, on Sargent, 
4-5; death of, 98-99, 246; Vernon Lee 
on character and personality of, 235 
et seq., 244 et seq., 249 

Sargent, Mrs. FitzWilliam, 1 et seq., 
114 et seq., 169; artistic inspiration of, 
15-16; death of, 170, 172; Vernon 
Lee on the personality and genius of, 

235, 236, 244, 249 
Sargent, John Singer, birth, parentage, 
genealogy, heredity, 1 etseq., 235-236, 
249; upbringing and early education, 
4-5, 11, 13; Continental travels, 4 et 
seq.; friendship with Ben del Castillo, 
5 et seq. (see also under Letters infra), 
with Vernon Lee, 6, 238 et seq.; pro- 
posed naval career for, 6, 1 1, 238, 240, 



Sargent, John Singer — continued: 
245; early artistic tendencies of, 6 et 
seq., 239 et seq.; first visit to London, 
8-9; meeting with Joseph Farquhar- 
son, 10, and Captain Silsbee, 14-15; 
artistic training at Florence, 15-16, 
19, 246 etseq.; character and tempera- 
ment, 16, 36-37, 46, 70-71, 76, 161- 
162, 170, 172-173; early estimation 
of Old Masters, 18-19; meeting with 
Whistler, 20-22; artistic training in 
Paris, 22 et seq.; and R. A. M. 
Stevenson, 26 et seq.; influence of 
Duran on, 27 et seq., 43 {see also 
under Duran); characteristics of his 
art and methods of work, 28, 29, 42 
et seq., 71, 82 et seq., 93, 95, 122, 132 
et seq., 236, 250 et seq.; art influences, 
30 et seq.; early work of, 38, 39; visit 
to the U.S.A., 39 et seq.; lithographs 
by, 44 «.; friendship with Helleu, 
44 et seq.; at Capri, 47-48; in Spain, 
49-50; interest in Spanish music, 
49-50; in Morocco, 50-5 1 ; in Holland, 
51-52; influence of Franz Hals 
{q.v.), 51; reputation in France, 57; 
portraits of Madame Gautreau {q.v.), 
59, and of Mrs. Henry White, 66-67; 
settles in Tite Street, 70; at Broadway, 
72 et seq.; painting of Carnation Lily, 
Lily Rose, 72, 74 et seq.; love of music 
and his musical ability, 49-50, 78-79, 
94, 146 et seq., 172, 173, 248-249; 
visit to R. L. Stevenson, 79, and his 
portraits of, 79-80; appreciation of 
Pre-Raphaelites, 87 et seq.; sculpture 
by, 88, 166-167; and the New English 
Art Club, 90; visit to America, 96 
et seq.; admiration for and friendship 
for Monet 97, 100, 123, 124, 130 et 
seq.; relations with his father, 98-99; 
experiments in Impressionism {q.v.), 
and his attitude toward, 99-100, 
122 et seq., 133, 226; made Chevalier 
Legion of Honour, 101 ; his considera- 
tion for younger artists, 101-102, 
138 et seq.; decorative work for 
Boston Library and Museum, 103 
etseq., 1 1 6- 1 17 '{see also under Boston) ; 
his child portraiture, 109-110; and 
Carmencita, no et seq.; in Egypt, 
114, Athens and Constantinople, 115; 
prestige in London in the 'go's, 116, 

Sargent, John Singer — continued: 
136; his models, 117; horseriding and 
hunting, 118 et seq.; friendship with 
Miss Heyneman, 138 et seq.; pen 
portrait of, by Miss Heyneman, 
!38-i39; art criticism of, 140, and 
his attitude to Post-Impressionism, 
191 et seq.; elected A.R.A., 141; 
exhibition of lunette for Boston 
Library, 1 43-1 44; conversational 
powers of, 1 45-1 46, 170, 230; takes 
studio in Fulham Road, 155; por- 
trait painting of children, 109-110; 
methods and episodes, 153 et seq., 
181 et seq.; characteristics of, 174 et 
seq., 253-254; revolt against, 188-189; 
confined to the beau monde, 225-226; 
elected R.A., 163; social tastes, pref- 
erences and friendships, 168 et seq., 
228-229; scenery preferences of, 171- 
172; prices of his pictures and his 
disregard for business, 177 et seq., 
202, 223; teaching at R.A. School, 
186, 222; attitude to the European 
War, 202 et seq.; in the Rockies, 204 
et seq.; visit to the War Zone, 210 
et seq.; influence of the War on his 
art, 218; honours paid to, and refusal 
of knighthood by, 220-221 ; popularity 
of his art, 223; water-colours of, 
224-225; personal appearance of, 227; 
generosity, 44 et seq., 228-229; person- 
ality, 229-230; reading by, 231; 
death, 232; In Memoriam, by Vernon 
Lee, 235 et seq. 

Letters to: Edwin Abbey, 137; 
Duke of Alba, 195-196; Mrs. Austin, 
18, 19; Rt. Hon. H. Campbell- 
Bannerman, 220; Ben del Castillo, 
6, 7, 8, 9, II, 22, 37, 38, 47, 50, 55, 
59; Hon. Evan Charteris, 206-207, 
212-213, 2I 3" 2I 4> 2I 7> 2I 8; Ralph 
Curtis, 141, 155, 171; Gabriel Faure, 
228; Mrs. Gardner, 100-101, 162, 
216; Wilfred de Glehn, 195, 230-231; 
Sir Edmund Gosse, 142; Sir J. Guth- 
rie, 218; Mrs. Hale, 1 61-162, 204, 
205; Sir George Henschel, 101, 102, 
118, 227; Miss J. H. Heyneman, 138, 
139-140; Frederick Jameson, 123 et 
seq., 129, 132; Vernon Lee, 49, 55, 
56, 59; Lady Lewis, 144, 167, 172, 
178, 201; D. S. MacColl, 26, 27, 123, 



Sargent, John Singer, Letters to — 
continued : 
192-193, 199, 221; J. B. Manson, 189- 
190; Claude Monet, 96-97, 102; 
Editor of the Nation , 192; Secretary, 
National Portrait Society, 162; Philo- 
sophical Society, Harvard, 221; 
Edward Robinson, 65; Harold Roller, 
64-65; R. Ross, 201; Mrs. Adrian 
Stokes, 171; Miss Strettell, 94 

Sargent, Mary Winthrop, sister of 

Sargent, 6, 7; death of, 15 
Sargent, Violet, marriage to M. Or- 

mond, 15, 103, 115 {see Ormond, 

Sargent, William, 1-2 
Sassoon, Lady, portrait of, by Sargent, 

138, 175-176 _ 
Sassoon, Sir Philip, 211, 212, 214 
Saturday Review on Sargent's Boston 

decorations, 142 
Scenery, Sargent's preferences for, 170 

et seq. 
Scott, Cyril, 169 
"Scottish Painting" (Caw), 91 
Seurat, 69 

Shakespeare, William, 118, 231 
Shannon, J. J., 90 
Shelley, P. B., 14, 231 
Sickert, Walter, 90 
Signac, Paul, 69 
Silsbee, Captain, 14 
Singer, Caspar, 3 
Singer, John, 3 
Sisley, 33, 69 
Slade School, 189 
Smollett, works of, 231 
Smyth, Dame Ethel, 150, 168, 169; 

Sargent's portrait of, 152 
"Soirees de Medan, Les," 92 
Spain, Sargent family in, 10; Sargent in, 

49-50, 53-54 
Spanish Beggar Girl (Sargent), 51 
Spanish Courtyard (Sargent), 51 
Spanish Dance (Sargent), 51 
Spanish folk music, 49 
"Spanish and Italian Folk Songs" 

(Strettell), Sargent's illustrations for, 

98, 251 
Spectator on portraits of the Misses 

Vickers, 73 

Speed, Harold, on Impressionism, 127- 

"Sporting Tour," 118 

Steer, Wilson, 42, 90, 116, 169, 231; 
Sargent's admiration for work of, 222- 

"Stella Maris" (Symons), 142 

Sterne, L., works of, 231 

Stevenson, R. A. M., 26 et seq., 116; 
on Sargent's portraits of Mrs. Henry 
White, 66;ofR. L. S., 80 

Stevenson, R. L., on R. A. M. Steven- 
son, 26; portraits of, by Sargent, 
69, 79, and R. L. S. on, 80 

Stevenson, Mr. and Mrs. R. L., Sar- 
gent's portrait of, 96 

Stillman, Mrs., 250 

Stobie, Dr., 216 

Stokes, Adrian, 90, 203 

Stokes, Mrs. Adrian, 203; letter from 
Sargent to, 171 

Story, Julian, 70 

Stott, Edward, 90 

"Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. 
Hyde" (Stevenson), 79 

Strauss, Richard, Sargent's appreciation 
of the music of, 148 

Strettell, Miss (Mrs. L. A. Harrison), 70, 
78, 99; letters from Sargent to, 94 

Study (Sargent), 90 

Sutherland, Duchess of, 156 

Swift, Jonathan, works of, 231 

Symphonie Espagnole (Lalo), 147 

Tadema, Alma, 77, 86, 89 
Take Your Son, Sir (Brown), 88 
Tate Gallery, Sargent pictures, in, 6^, 

226; trusteeship of, resigned by 

Sargent, 221 
Taylor, Tom, 86 
Terry, Dame Ellen, portrait of, by 

Sargent, as Lady Macbeth, 100-101, 

137, 223 
Thomson, Croal, viii 
Thomson, Miss A., 99 
Tiepolo, S3y 106, 208 
Time, magazine, 79 
Times, The, 1882, quoted on the Idyllic 

School, 92 
Tintoretto, 196; admiration of Sargent 

for, 18, 19, 52, S3> 106 
Tite Street, Sargent's studio in, 49, 70 
Titian, 18, 19, 52, 197 

3 o8 


Titles of pictures, nicknames for, 179 

Tonks, Professor Henry, 3$, 90, 116, 
133, 169, 214, 231; on Sargent as a 
host, 169-170; on Sargent in the War 
Zone, 211-212; Sargent's admiration 
for work of, 222-223 

Tuke, H. S., 90 

Turner, J. M. W., 42, 83, 128, 199 

U.S.A. troops in the European War, 

Sargent's picture of, 213 
Uzzielli, Major, 212 

Val d'Aosta, Sargent's visits to, 170 
Van Dyck, 140, 197 
Van Rensselaer, Mrs., letter from Sar- 
gent to, 109-110 
Velasquez, 93, 113, 197; influence of, 

27-28,35, 5i, 52, 134 
"Velasquez" (R. A. M. Stevenson), 26, 

Venetian Interior (Sargent), 57, 163 
Venice, Sargent in, 18, 20, 53-54, 171 
Veronese, Paul, 18, 19 
Vespers (Sargent), 189 
Vickers family, portraits of, by Sargent, 

68-69, 73-74, 76, 115, 174, 176, 177 
"Vie de Boheme" (Murger), 37 

Wagner, R., music of, 78, 94, 146, 148 

Walker, 92 

Walton, E. A., 91 

Ward, Nelson, 169, 231 

Water-colours, Sargent's use of, 178, 

W 7 atts, G. F., 71, 86, 89, 93, OTi ^54 

Watts, Miss, portrait by Sargent of, 43 

Wedgwood, Miss Eliza, 170, 173, 178; 
on Sargent's portrait of her mother, 

Wedgwood, Mrs., portrait of, by Sar- 
gent, 185 

Weir, Alden, 36 y 99 

Welsch, Carl, 10 

Wernyss, Lord, portrait of, by Sargent, 

138, 176 
Wertheimer, Asher, 140, 163 
Wertheimer portraits by Sargent, 164- 

^5, 174, 177 
Whibley, Charles, viii 
Whistler, J. M., 11, 30, 33, 57, 70, 91, 

116, 179; E. R. and J. Pennell cited 

on, 11, 21, 70, 167; Sargent's meeting 

and friendship with, 20; libel action 

against Ruskin, 86-87; admiration of, 

for The Crucifix , 167 
White, Mr. Henry, 145 
White, Mrs. Henry, portrait of, by 

Sargent, 66, 73 n., 138 
White, Stanford, 103, 104 
Whitney, Mrs. Payne, 80 
Widener Memorial Library, Cambridge, 

Sargent's decorative work in, 103, 

Wills Hospital, Philadelphia, 1 
Wilson, Heath, 15 
Wilson, President, portrait of, 161, 162, 

Wilson, Richard, 83 
Wineglasses (Sargent), 176 
Winthrop, John, 2 
"With Brush and Pencil" (Hood), 

112 n. 
Wolff, Johannes, portrait of, by Sargent, 


Woolf, Albert, on portrait of Mme. 

Gautreau, 62 n. 
Wreck of an Orange Ship (Turner), 199 
Wyndham group, portrait by Sargent, 

68, 69, 174, 175 

"Yellow Book," the, 79, 154; Sargent's 

opinion of, 142 
Yvon, M., 22 

Zola, £mile, 33 y 92 
Zuloaga, 200 





New York and William Heinemann, Limited, of 
London, have jointly published a very handsome 
volume of the work of John Singer Sargent, R. A. The in- 
troductions are by J. B. Manson and Mrs. Meynell. The 
reproductions of 88 of Mr. Sargent's paintings are by the 
photogravure process. The volume is limited to 360 copies 
— 250 for sale in the United States, 100 for sale in Great 
Britain [all numbered], and 10 for presentation. It is of es- 
pecial interest to know that about sixty paintings included in 
the book were selected by Mr. Sargent himself. The others 
were selected by Mr. J. B. Manson in collaboration with 
Mr. Royal Cortissoz. 

The volume is 13^'x 18". It is bound in red buckram, 
with the lettering on the front cover and back very hand- 
somely stamped in gold. The text is on hand-made laid paper. 
The excellence of the typographical work, large type and 
wide margins, gives a most pleasing effect. The reproductions 
bound in the volume are on heavy specially made paper, and 
the very finest of photogravure processes has been employed. 

It is confidently believed that this volume will be welcomed 
by art students, critics, and collectors as a very distinctive and 
useful contribution to contemporary art, and at the same time 
a worthy memorial to perhaps America's foremost artist — 
John Singer Sargent.